ISIS brought the Sunni extremist war on Shiites to a new peak Sunday with a multiple suicide attack on the compound of the Shiite shrine, the Sayyida Zeinab tomb,in southern Damascus. Up to 60 people were killed and 120 injured by two suicide bombers and a third, who drove a bomb car at the guarded gate. Many neighboring buildings were damaged, including Syrian army staff HQ; a bus carrying pilgrims caught fire.
Sayyida, a granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad, is one of the most revered Shiite saints. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims continued to visit the tomb from around the Shiite world – even during the harshest moments of the Syrian war. For many years, a special Hizballah unit acted as custodians of the shrine. This duty recently passed to Shiite,militias imported from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.