Islamic State attacks Qamishli: Death toll in Syrian town rises to 55

Damascus: The death toll from an attack Wednesday on the Kurdish-held western section of Qamishli town in north-eastern Syria has risen to 55, with many victims still buried under the rubble, a hospital official told dpa.

"The number keeps increasing as lots of victims are still buried under the debris. Many of the injured are listed in critical condition," Qamishli National Hospital Director Omar Al-Qaqoub said.

"Our new accounts of the wounded also reached more than 160 as many of the Kurdish police forces who were wounded were taken to various hospitals in the town for treatment," he added.

 Islamic State attacks Qamishli: Death toll in Syrian town rises to 55

Smoke rises while people gather at a damaged site after two bomb blasts claimed by Islamic State hit Qamishli. Reuters

He added that hospitals in the area are flooded with wounded people.

The head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, estimated the number killed to be 48, with more than 140 wounded.

"This is the worst blast to hit the Qamishli area," Abdel Rahman said.

Kurdish news agency Rudaw said the first blast was caused by a truck loaded with explosives which targeted a centre run by the Kurdish police force.

A second blast hit a street in the east of the city that is home to the local defence administration, the agency reported, giving no details on how many were wounded or injured in the attack.

Abdel Rahman told dpa earlier a car bomb targeted the Justice Department and Kurdish internal security force in the town, which is located in al-Hasaka province.

Syria television showed huge damage in the area where the blast took place and panicking people rushing to help those trapped under the rubble. Women were also seen running and shouting for help.

Hospitals across Qamishli have put out urgent calls for the donation of all blood types in the wake of the blasts.

Qamishli, which is predominantly inhabited by Kurds, has regularly been targeted by bombings, many of which were claimed by Islamic State.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for one of Wednesday's bombings.

"An Islamic state fighter managed to reach a number of buildings of the Kurds via his explosives-laden truck, blowing himself up among them ... destroying their buildings ... killing over 100 and injuring dozens," the statement said.

It added that the attack was to avenge the killing of men, women and children in the Islamic State-controlled Minbij city, north of Syria.

The claim was made via one of its supporting channels on the Telegram messaging app.

The extremist group vowed to launch further attacks against the Kurds.

On 31 May, the Kurdish-led Democratic Forces of Syria (DFS), backed by US-led airstrikes, launched a wide-scale offensive on the Minbij pocket, the extremists' last territory on the Turkish border.

The operation is aimed at cutting the extremist group's last link with the outside world and isolating its de facto Syrian capital, al-Raqqa, which lies south-east of Minbij.

Qamishli is under the joint control of president Bashar al-Assad's forces and the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which in April agreed to a ceasefire following days of deadly fighting for control of the city.

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Updated Date: Jul 27, 2016 21:05:43 IST