More than 150 people are killed in ISIS suicide and gun attacks in government-held city in Syria’s south
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Islamic State militants have killed more than 150 people in a series of gun attacks and suicide blasts on government-held parts of southwestern Syria.
Raids and suicide bombings carried out today in Syria’s southern Sweida province have killed 156 people including 62 civilians, a war monitor group said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitoring watchdog, said they were killed following seemingly coordinated attacks, including multiple suicide blasts in Sweida city itself.
Most of the deaths occurred in raids on villages in the northeast of the province, while the remainder were killed in suicide attacks in the provincial capital, the monitor said, updating earlier tolls which had initially indicated a much lower toll.
Earlier today, the head of the Sweida health authority told al-Manar TV, run by Damascus ally Hezbollah, that at least 50 people had been killed and 78 wounded.
However, the discrepancy in death tolls is common in the early hours of such large assaults.
Islamic State said in a statement that it had carried out the suicide blasts and gun attacks, which are the deadliest to hit government territory in many months.
The coordinated attacks – the worst in recent months – had all the hallmarks of the militant group and were reminiscent of its horrific assaults that spread mayhem over the past years in Syria, already ravaged by civil war.
The suicide bombings in the city of Sweida, a provincial capital populated by Syria’s minority Druze, were apparently timed to coincide with attacks by a militant group linked to IS on a number of villages in the province, also called Sweida.
Al-Ikhbariya state-run TV showed images from several locations in the province and its capital where the bombers blew themselves up.
It said one of the attackers hit at a vegetable market in the city of Sweida just after 5am, a busy time for the merchants at the start of their day.
The bomber drove through the market on a motorcycle and there detonated his explosives, the TV station said.
A second attacker hit in another busy square in the city. Two other attackers blew themselves up as they were chased by security forces.
The city of Sweida has largely been spared most of the violence that Syrian cities have witnessed in the years since the conflict started in 2011.
Northeast of Sweida, jihadists launched simultaneous assaults on several villages where they clashed with government forces.
State news agency SANA said that two other IS militants were killed before they could detonate their bombs.
Source: Daily Mail