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Suicide bombings on the rise among Shiites

While suicide attacks were once the preserve of Sunni extremist groups, there have been reports of recent attacks in Syria carried out by Shiite militants fighting alongside the Assad regime.
Smoke rises into the sky from what activists said was Free Syrian Army fighters destroying a tank that belonged to forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Qaboun area, eastern Ghouta, September 15, 2013. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTX13MHE
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Over the past few years, Sunni extremist groups in the Middle East have carried out suicide attacks on a large scale, tipping the balance in their favor in the fight against their enemies, be they Western forces or regimes in the region. Similar operations by Shiite militants have largely been unheard of in recent years, but it seems that the current, deep sectarian divide has enticed some Shiites to carry out suicide attacks against their Sunni enemies.

In a Dec. 1 interview in Dahiyeh, south of Beirut, a source close to Shiite militias fighting in Syria informed Al-Monitor of two Shiite suicide attacks that took place during the last week in November. Civil activists inside Syria confirmed the events, which were launched during clashes in Ghouta, near Damascus, against opposition militants.

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