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Home / World / Blast hits Afghan mosque, 100 killed

Blast hits Afghan mosque, 100 killed

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which took place in Kunduz, the capital of Kunduz province
People view the damage inside the mosque after the bombing in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, on Friday.
People view the damage inside the mosque after the bombing in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, on Friday.
AP/PTI

AP, PTI   |   Kabul   |   Published 08.10.21, 07:04 PM

A blast went off on Friday at a mosque packed with Shia worshippers in northern Afghanistan, killing or wounding at least 100 people, a Taliban police official said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which took place in Kunduz, the capital of Kunduz province, but militants from the Islamic State group have a long history of attacking Afghanistan’s Shia minority.

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Dost Mohammad Obaida, the deputy police chief for Kunduz province, said that the “majority of them have been killed”, in reference to the victims. He said the attack may have been carried out by a suicide bomber who had mingled among the worshippers inside the mosque.

“I assure our Shia brothers that the Taliban are prepared to ensure their safety,” Obaida said, adding that an investigation was underway.

 An official at the Kunduz provincial hospital said at least 25 people were killed and 51 wounded in the attack. He said the figures were preliminary because casualties were being transferred to private hospitals as well. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak to the media.

If confirmed, a death toll of dozens would be the highest since US and Nato forces left Afghanistan at the end of August and the Taliban took control of the country. The militant group have been targeted in a series of deadly attacks by rival IS militants, including shooting ambushes and an explosion at a mosque in Kabul.

The Kunduz explosion went off during the weekly Friday prayer service at the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque.

The Friday noon prayer is the highlight of the Muslim religious week, and mosques are typically crowded. Witness Ali Reza said he was praying at the time of the explosion and reported seeing many casualties.

Photos and video from the scene showed rescuers carrying a body wrapped in a blanket from the mosque to an ambulance. The stairs at the entrance of the mosque were covered in blood. Debris from the blast covered the floor and the mosque's lofty ceiling was charred black.

A resident of the area, Hussaindad Rezayee, said he rushed to the mosque as soon as the explosion went off. “I was busy at home doing construction work, and when the prayers started, the explosion happened,” he said. “I came to look for my relatives, the mosque was full.”

Earlier on Friday, the chief Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the Shia mosque was the target and that a “large number” of worshippers were killed and wounded. The Taliban leadership has been grappling with a growing threat from the local Islamic State affiliate, known as the Islamic State in Khorasan.



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