Sufi shrine targeted in Syria explosion
A photo showing the wreckage of the shrine in the Syrian town of Busaira. (Photo courtesy of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)
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Al Qaeda affiliated militants are being blamed for a Sufi shrine attack in Eastern Syria on Sunday. Opposition activists claim that the Al Qaeda militants are fighting in the sectarian civil war.
Militants set up explosives at the shrine of Shaikh Eisa Abdul Qader Al Rifaiy in the town of Busaira, 45km east of the capital of Deir Al Zor, and set them off on Sunday morning, they said.
Sources reported to Reuters that they suspected Al Qaida-linked fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil) were responsible for the explosion.
“The Islamic State has a base outside the town. The ease by which they got to the shrine indicates that their presence is growing,” activist Abu Al Tayyeb Al Deiri said from Deir Al Zor.
The shrine was reduced to rubble. Scenes from the explosion show twisted metal and shattered rock with a dome building in the background. Photos were released by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.
In the past, graves belonging to Sufi sect have been destroyed by Al Qaeda. The Observatory also said another shrine had been blown up last month.