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At least nine people were killed and thirty others were injured in a twin bombing attack outside a Shiite shrine near the Syrian capital of Damascus on Friday, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

The official SANA news agency said a suicide bomber and a car bomb struck at the entrance to the Sayyida Zeinab shrine, which is revered by Shiites around the world.

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The shrine, around 10 kilometres south of the centre of Damascus, is heavily guarded by pro-government forces but has still been the target of several jihadist attacks, including those claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.

The last attack on Sayyida Zeinab on April 25 killed at least seven and wounded dozens.
A string of IS bombings near the shrine in February left 134 people dead, most of them civilians, according to the Observatory.

And in January, another attack claimed by IS killed 70 people.

Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah cited the threat to Sayyida Zeinab as a principal reason for its intervention in the civil war on the side of President Bashar al-Assad.

The shrine contains the grave of Zeinab, a venerated granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammed, and is known for its glistening golden onion-shaped dome.

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