DAMASCUS – A Syrian jihadist group affiliated with al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for a twin bombing on Friday in the capital Damascus that killed at least 40, BBC reported.

“On Saturday… a twin attack was carried out by two heroes of Islam … in the centre of the capital Damascus, killing and wounding dozens,” the statement said.

A roadside bomb detonated as a bus passed by and a suicide bomber blew himself up in the Bab al Saghir area, which houses several mausoleums that draw pilgrims from around the world, the Syrian Observa­tory for Human Rights said.

A witness told AFP that the second bomb exploded as passers-by gathered at the scene of the first attack, and state television said a booby-trapped motorcycle was defused nearby.

Syrian state television said at least 120 people were wounded after “terrorists detonated two bombs”.

It broadcast footage of several white buses with their windows shattered, some charred and peppered with shrapnel. Shoes, glasses and wheelchairs lay scattered on ground covered in blood.

Syrian Interior Minister Mohammad Shaar said the attack targeted “pilgrims of various Arab nationalities”.

“The sole aim was to kill,” he said.