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Bombing near Shiite town's school in Syria kills 6

DAMASCUS, Syria – A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden car near a primary school in a Syrian Shiite town, killing at least six people Sunday, activists and state media reported.

The blast occurred outside a compound of schools in the town of Umm al-Amed in the eastern province of Homs, an official from the governor’s office said. He said the blast destroyed a series of buildings, and that rescue operations were continuing in the area.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t allowed to speak to journalists.

Rami Abdurrahman of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least six people, including children, were killed in the blast. He said he couldn’t confirm how many children.

The governor’s office official said at least 10 people died in the blast, including five students. It wasn’t possible to immediately reconcile the conflicting death tolls. The Observatory obtains its information from a network of activists on the ground.

The bombing underscores how Syria’s civil war, now in its third year, has become increasingly sectarian.

Syria’s rebels are mainly Sunni, with hard-line Muslim brigades emerging as the most powerful fighting groups. Shiites and other Syrian minority groups have either stayed neutral or sided with President Bashar Assad, fearing for their future should the uprising prevail. All have killed civilians.

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