World

ISIS Suicide Attack Kills 50 In Syrian Kurdish Town

| by Nik Bonopartis
Al Qamishli, a Kurdish town in Syria.Al Qamishli, a Kurdish town in Syria.

ISIS claimed credit for a suicide attack that killed more than 50 in a semi-autonomous Kurdish village in northern Syria.

The first bomber drove a livestock truck filled with explosives into a crowded district of the Syrian town of Qamishli on July 27, detonating a payload that leveled buildings in the area and killed dozens of residents, according to ABC News.

Suleiman Youssef, who lives in Qamishli, told The Associated Press he heard the explosion from several miles away and arrived to find survivors trapped beneath the rubble of ruined buildings that surrounded the bomb site.

"Most of the buildings at the scene of the explosion have been heavily damaged because of the strength of the blast," he said.

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A motorcycle packed with explosives detonated in the same area minutes later, according to Al Jazeera. A video hosted by The New York Times shows the aftermath of the first explosion, with flames licking up from the blast site under a column of smoke, just before the second detonation.

The camera shook, showing civilians bolting away and a second wave of screams in the chaos. A recording from a few minutes later showed a distressed woman screaming, and an elderly couple stuck on the fourth floor of a building after the blast destroyed most of the structure.

Rescuers worked throughout the day to free the trapped victims. In a statement from ISIS, the group said the bombing was in retaliation for earlier U.S. airstrikes on Manbij, a front-line city where Syrian government forces battled with insurgents.

The bomber's target, ISIS said, was a barracks for Kurdish security forces. It wasn't immediately clear if Kurdish fighters were among those killed or injured in the blast, ABC reported.

"Terror is all I saw among the residents when I first arrived. I was shocked at the extent of destruction in the homes and shops," Decile Husen, a 23-year old media activist, told ABC News.

Officials who spoke to Al Jazeera said they expected the death toll to rise as rescuers worked their way through the rubble. Those deaths will be added to the estimated 280,000 people killed in more than five years of civil war, according to the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. More than 4.8 million Syrians have fled the country, the report said, while another 6.5 million remain in Syria but are displaced from their homes.

Sources: ABC News, Al Jazeera, The New York Times / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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