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Islamic State targets Syria's Homs with twin bomb attack

Beirut: A bomb attack claimed by Islamic State in the Syrian government-controlled city of Homs killed at least 24 people on Tuesday.

The governor of Homs said the first of two explosions was caused by a car bomb that targeted a security checkpoint. A suicide bomber then set off an explosive belt, state media reported.

"We know we are targets for terrorists, especially now the (Syrian) army is advancing and local reconciliation agreements are being implemented," the governor told Reuters by phone.

Seventeen people are still in hospital, one of whom is in a critical condition, the governor said.

Syrian state TV earlier reported 22 people had died and more than 100 people had been injured.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group put the death toll at 29. It said those killed in the explosions, which took place in a mostly Alawite district, included 15 members of government forces and pro-government militiamen.

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Syria's nearly five-year-old civil war pits President Bashar al-Assad, a member of the minority Alawite sect, against mainly Sunni Muslim rebels and jihadi fighters.

Islamic State said in a statement its attack had killed at least 30 people.

The Syrian army and allied forces have been battling Islamic State in areas to the east and southeast of Homs city. They recently took back several villages including Maheen 80 km southeast of the city.

Reuters

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