Dozens of people were killed and over 100 injured after an Islamic State truck bomb exploded in Qamishli, the de facto Kurdish capital in Syria, on Wednesday morning.
According to a statement from Cizire Canton Health Council Co-Presidency, “35 people, mainly civilians, were killed … and 150 people were injured,” as a result of the bomb which struck at 9:25 am, ANF News reports.
Other media outlets reported that the UK-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights claimed that 44 people were killed, but this has not been confirmed. Syrian state TV outlet SANA also reported that 44 had died.
Later on Wednesday, Iraq-based Kurdistan 24 reported that the Kurdish Red Crescent said 50 people were killed and 177 were injured.
Islamic State claimed the attack via its Amaq news agency, describing it as a “truck bombing that struck a complex of Kurdish offices,” the Associated Press reports.
According to the BBC, IS claimed the attack was in response to coalition air strikes on Manbij, the IS-held city currently under attack from Syrian forces, including the mainly Kurdish YPG and YPJ.
A number of building in the immediate vicinity were demolished by the blast, sparking fears that many people could be trapped under the rubble, and leading to warnings that the death toll is likely to rise.
Exclusive video of rescue teams trying to reach people under rubble after the Qamishlo truck bomb attack pic.twitter.com/1PPaBJxa3M
— Mutlu Civiroglu (@mutludc) July 27, 2016
Qamishli, known by Kurds as Qamislo, is the capital of the self-declared autonomous region of Rojava in northern Syria. It has been relatively peaceful throughout the war, but has seen a number of attacks by IS on both Kurds and Assyrian Christians in recent months. Wednesday’s attack is the deadliest to hit the city since the Syrian conflict began.
The bomb struck near the Asayish headquarters in the city, according to the BBC. The Asayish acts as a police force for Rojava. Iraqi Kurdish media outlet Rudaw says that the area is also home to some ministerial buildings and offices of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).
There were reports that a second bomb exploded, but footage released by the Smart News Agency appears to show a gas tank exploding due to a fire after the truck bomb blast.
Watch the second bomb in #Qamishlo #Syria #TwitterKurds pic.twitter.com/ZFUMZoUL3l
— Kovan Direj كوفان (@kovandire) July 27, 2016
#SYRIA#IS Statement Claims #Qamishli Suicide Bombing, Warns This Is Only The Beginning. #TerrorMonitor pic.twitter.com/bsp4KNnKgm
— Terrormonitor.org (@Terror_Monitor) July 27, 2016
.@ARANewsEnglish footage from Qamislo https://t.co/UonI1aIek7 #twitterkurds
— Wladimir (@vvanwilgenburg) July 27, 2016
Health Council: 35 killed, over 150 wounded in Qamishlo attackhttps://t.co/2S1WKNkvdQ pic.twitter.com/Qw38YdC0g4
— Firat News Agency (@anfenglish) July 27, 2016
'IS' bomb blast in Syrian Kurdish city kills dozens https://t.co/KDpROmBqSC
— dwnews (@dwnews) July 27, 2016
#Syria IS claims deadly bombing in Qamishli #AFP Photo by @Delilsouleman pic.twitter.com/LNlULpbDmy
— AFP Photo (@AFPphoto) July 27, 2016