ISIS says it was behind deadly attack in Syria’s Homs

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group said it was behind a deadly attack in the central Syrian city of Homs on Saturday that killed at least 53 people and wounded dozens more.

“Abu Ahmed al-Homsi parked his car in the Zahra neighborhood and exploded it among the ‘rafidis’ before detonating his explosives belt,” an ISIS statement said, using a derogatory term for Shiites.

The statement said the twin blasts in a pro-regime area of the city killed more than 25 people and wounded 70. Earlier, the provincial governor and a monitoring group said 16 people died and 54 were wounded, speaking of a single explosion.

A vehicle bomb detonated close to a hospital in the mainly Alawite neighborhood of al-Zahra in the east of Homs city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

The second large blast, originally suspected to have been a bomb, appeared to have come from an exploding gas canister and wounded people who had come to tend to victims of the first explosion in the densely-populated neighborhood, state media said.

State television had earlier described the attack as “two large terrorist explosions.” News agency SANA said the vehicle bomb had been packed with 150 kg of explosives. It published a photo of two men carrying a woman away from burning wreckage.

Footage on state television showed a chaotic scene with black clouds of smoke rising above twisted metal debris. People stumbled over the rubble as they tried to ferry people away from the site.