Hundreds of people were killed across Syria in a string of four, coordinated attacks by the Islamic State on Wednesday which targeted government controlled areas of the country, including multiple bombings in Sweida city.
One attack included a motorcyclist who crashed into a marketplace before detonating his bombs, according to reports by NPR, but all attacks occurred between 3:50 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. local time. ISIS simultaneously kidnapped dozens of villagers and took them back to terrorist hideouts.
Government authorities sparred with ISIS militants and “hunted down two terrorist suicide bombers who had been wearing explosive belts and killed them before they were able to blow themselves up in the residential areas in the city,” according to reports by the local Syrian Arab News Agency. Over 12 ISIS fighters were killed throughout the villages they attacked. (RELATED: Suspected ISIS Fighter Refuses To Be Released By The US In Syria)
The death toll has been disputed by different organizations because the death and destruction of the attacks were so widespread, but the director of health in Sweida province told Sham FM, a pro-government news agency, that 215 people were killed. Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported that at least 156 people had died while local journalists said 175 were killed.
“They attacked homes in a coordinated attack. They knocked on doors, and then entered the homes and killed people in there,” Ahed Mrad, a journalist from Sweida said to the Guardian. “A lot of victims fell before any bullet was fired because they were going into the homes and slaughtering people silently, at dawn, without anyone being aware.”
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