BEIRUT An Islamic State car bomb on Monday in a district south of Damascus killed at least six people and possibly many more, according to the radical Sunni movement and a monitoring group.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for detonating the car laden with explosives near a Syrian army checkpoint, a news agency close to the militants said. It first gave no details but later said the blast killed or injured 48 people.[5N17S4EK]
Lebanese group Hezbollah's Al Manar television reported the blast had occurred at a Syrian army checkpoint and put the death toll at eight.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death toll was expected to rise because of the number of people with serious injuries.
State media located the bombing on the outskirts of Sayeda Zeinab, home to Syria's holiest Shi'ite Muslim shrine. The area has already been hit by two bomb attacks this year.
Multiple explosions in February killed scores of people there in one of the bloodiest attacks there in Syria's five-year conflict, while an Islamic State suicide attack there less than a month earlier killed 70 people.
The Syrian government's chief negotiator at Geneva talks said the blast struck a hospital.
Syrian government negotiator Bashar Ja'afari said Monday's blast "that four terrorists carried out" had hit a hospital, killing some patients evacuated last week from two rebel-besieged towns in the northwestern province of Idlib. He said 10 people were killed.
(Reporting by John Davison, Tom Perry and Suleiman al-Khalidi; Additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Editing by Dominic Evans and Tom Heneghan)
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