BEIRUT (Reuters) - Islamic State militants killed more than 200 people in a coordinated assault on a government-held area of southwestern Syria on Wednesday, local officials and a war monitor said, in the group's deadliest attack in the country for years. Jihadist fighters stormed several villages and staged suicide blasts in the provincial capital Sweida, near one of the few remote pockets still held by Islamic State after it was driven from most of its territory last year. The head of the Sweida provincial health authority told the pro-Damascus Sham FM that 215 people were killed and 180 injured in the attack, as well as 75 Islamic State fighters. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said the attackers had killed more than 200 people including many civilians. Islamic State said in an earlier statement that it had killed more than 100 people in the attacks. The jihadists launched simultaneous attacks on several villages northeast of Sweida city, where they clashed with government forces, state media and the Observatory said. In the city itself, at least two attackers blew themselves up, one near a marketplace and the second in another district, state television said. State news agency SANA said two other militants were killed before they could detonate their bombs. The Observatory said jihadists seized hostages from the villages they had attacked. Photographs distributed on social media, which Reuters could not independently verify but which the Observatory said were genuine, purported to show the bodies of Islamic State fighters hanged from street signs by angry residents. Sweida Governor Amer al-Eshi said authorities also arrested another attacker. "The city of Sweida is secure and calm now," he told state-run Ikhbariyah TV. Islamic State lost nearly all the territory it once held in Syria last year in separate offensives by the Russian-backed army and a U.S.-backed militia alliance. Since then, President Bashar al-Assad has gone on to crush the last remaining rebel enclaves near the cities of Damascus and Homs and swept rebels from the southwest. After losing its strongholds in eastern Syria last year, Islamic State launched insurgency operations from pockets of territory in desert areas. The Observatory said government forces had forced the jihadists from all the villages they had stormed from their pocket northeast of the city. Government troops and allied forces hold all of Sweida province except for that enclave. The air force pounded militant hideouts northeast of the city after soldiers thwarted an attempt by Islamic State fighters to infiltrate Douma, Tima and al-Matouna villages, state media said. With the help of Russian air power, the Syrian army has been hitting Islamic State in a separate pocket further west, near the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The Yarmouk Basin in southwest Syria remains in jihadist hands, after an army offensive defeated rebel factions in other parts of the southwest. The operation has focused on Deraa and Quneitra provinces. (Reporting by Ellen Francis and Tom Perry in Beirut, Hesham Hajali in Cairo, and Kinda Makieh in Damascus; editing by Stephen Powell and David Stamp)
Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting
Madonna's daughter Lourdes Leon made her second runway appearance at Rihanna's Savage X Fenty fashion show
The 24-year-old made her New York Fashion Week debut in 2018, and two years later, she's now a part of Rihanna's Savage X Fenty Vol. 3 show.
An Asian woman who suffered a bloodied mouth after an unprovoked attack in Los Angeles is seeking justice as her alleged assailant continues to walk free. What happened: Jennifer Chen, a Canadian national visiting the city, was alone in her car when a man allegedly approached her, uttered a racial slur and punched her in the mouth. Chen, 30, was sitting on the driver’s side when the alleged attack occurred.
- The Telegraph
While focus remains firmly fixed on Covid-19, a second health crisis is quietly emerging in Britain. Since the beginning of July, there have been thousands of excess deaths that were not caused by coronavirus.
- CBS News
The "small but dangerous storm" is one of the earliest 18th named storms to form.
- E! News
Blake Shelton was not too pleased when rumors surfaced that Ariana Grande's success on The Voice might lead to him getting kicked off the show. See what he said when confronting the pop star.
- Roll Tide Wire
Alabama is not the best team in the SEC, nor are they the runner up, according to a CFB analyst's rankings.
During her airborne performance of "Everything I Wanted," Eilish pointed to a spot in the crowd and said, "Security, why aren't you paying attention?"
- Business Insider
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene got into a shouting match outside the Capitol with a Democratic congresswoman over abortion: 'Try being a Christian!'
The far-right congresswoman confronted Democrats on the steps outside the House chamber after the passage of a Democratic bill to protect abortion.
- Business Insider
A prominent anti-vax doctor, who falsely claimed the COVID-19 vaccine could make people magnetic, had her medical license renewed, report says
Dr. Sherri Tenpenny pushed the false claim that COVID-19 vaccines could make people magnetic and connect a person to5G mobile data networks.
- Touchdown Wire
How can any high school player stop prized recruit Arch Manning? They can't.
- E! News
Meghan McCain shared her controversial opinion after The View's Sunny Hostin and Ana Navarro tested positive for COVID-19 while on set.
- Yahoo Life
Elizabeth Banks implored her followers to hydrate as she posted an unfiltered selfie to Instagram.
A woman was charged with arson in connection to a California wildfire that has burned 10,000 acres. Officials say she walked out of the brush with a lighter.
Officials believe the 30-year-old woman could be a serial arsonist and are investigating her connections to other fires in the state.
- Golf Channel
Those expecting to see the Americans’ two heavyweight partnerships all weekend were probably surprised Friday.
- Boxing Junkie
Callum Smith delivered a brutal second-round knockout of Lenin Castillo in his 175-pound debut on the Anthony Joshua-Oleksandr Usyk card.
- Miami Herald
Forecasters are also monitoring two other disturbances, including one that has a chance of turning into a tropical depression next week.
The ~source~ also claimed that "Harry got bored and started looking at his phone." 🙄
Footage shows an 'angry' contractor with a sledgehammer wrecking a customer's bathroom renovation over a $4,225 payment dispute
Amber Trucke told Insider that she withheld a final payment of $4,225 because she was unsatisfied with the "horrible" bathroom renovation.
- Business Insider
Amateur divers find an 'incredible' treasure trove of gold coins from the Roman Empire while cleaning up trash on the seabed
The brothers-in-law were snorkeling with masks and flippers when they uncovered one of the greatest sets of Roman gold coins found in Europe.
- MMA Junkie
When Dillon Danis couldn't get into a bar because he didn't have any ID on him, he tried to Google his way in.