A double bomb attack by ISIS outside a Shiite shrine near Damascus has killed at least eight people, according to state media, in the latest in repeated deadly strikes on the site.
The official SANA news agency said on Saturday that a suicide bomber and a car bomb struck at the entrance to the Sayeda Zeinab shrine, which is revered by Shias around the world.
Medical sources at Al-Sadr hospital told SANA reporter that 8 dead bodies and 13 injured peoples reached the hospital.
The Reporter said that big damage was inflicted on a number of houses and a number of vehicles and market were set on fire by the two blasts.
The Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attacks via a post on the Amaq news agency website.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported a higher toll of at least 12 people killed and 30 wounded.
The shrine, about 10km south of the centre of Damascus, is heavily guarded by pro-government forces but has still been the target of several attacks, including those claimed by ISIL.
It contains the grave of Zeinab, a venerated granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad, and is notable for its glistening, golden dome.
Syria’s official Al Ikhbariya channel showed images from the scene of burned-out cars billowing with plumes of black smoke.
Firefighters battled to extinguish the flames as shop signs lay in the street.
“This is not the first, not the second, but the third attack to target the same point,” Alaa Ebrahim, a journalist who visited the scene on Saturday, told Al Jazeera from Damascus via Skype.
Having seen the extent of the damage, he said, he expected the death toll to rise.
The last attack on Sayeda Zeinab on April 25 killed at least seven and wounded dozens.
In response to the bombings, “there could be an escalation in attacks in areas controlled by rebels”, Ebrahim said, adding that most Damascus residents were supportive of the Syrian government. ISIS
“These [government-led military] operations are not viewed through the same eyes here as by those who are abroad.”
A string of ISIL bombings near the shrine in February left 134 people dead, most of them civilians, according to the SOHR. And in January, another attack claimed by ISIL killed 70 people.
Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia group, cited the threat to Sayeda Zeinab as a principal reason for sending its fighters to Syria on the side of President Bashar al-Assad.