Afghanistan: Mosque blast during Friday prayers kills 55, injures 143 Hazara Muslims
By S.K. Khan and Ahmet Gencturk
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan/ANKARA, Turkey (AA): A suicide bomb attack on worshippers at a Shia Muslim mosque in the Afghan city of Kunduz killed at least 55 people, injured 143 others on Friday, officials said.
Witnesses told Anadolu Agency that the blast rocked the Seyedabad Grand Mosque at around 1.30 p.m. local time (0900 GMT).
Matiullah Rouhani, head of the Information and Culture Department in Kunduz under the Taliban government, said the explosion killed at least 55 people while 143 others were injured.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said many citizens were killed and wounded by “insurgents.” In a tweet, he condemned the “heinous act” and promised “to find and punish the perpetrators.”
A prominent Shia Muslim leader, Sayed Hussain Alimi Balkhi, condemned the attack and called on the Taliban to defend the Shia Muslim minority in Afghanistan.
“We expect the security forces of the government to provide security for the mosques since they collected the weapons that were provided for the security of the worship places,” he said.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said it was “deeply concerned by reports of very high casualties,” calling the attack a part of a “disturbing pattern of violence.”
Meanwhile, in a statement, the Daesh/Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) terror group, which has targeted Shia Muslims in the past, claimed responsibility for the attack.
On Sunday, at least eight people were killed and 20 others wounded when a bomb went off near the entrance of the Eidgah Mosque in Kabul.
People had gathered for a memorial service for the late mother of Mujahid, who is also the deputy minister of information and culture in the interim Taliban government.
In October 2017, an IS-K suicide attacker struck a Shia Muslim mosque as worshippers gathered for evening prayers in the west of Kabul, killing 56 people and wounding 55 including women and children.
And in May this year, a series of bombings outside a school in the capital killed at least 85 people — mostly young girls. More than 300 were wounded in this attack on the Hazara community.
Additional report by The Muslim News
[Photo: An inside view of the damaged Seyedabad Grand Mosque after a powerful blast ripped through the Shi’a Muslim mosque full of worshippers during weekly Friday prayers, killing and injuring “many,” in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan on October 08, 2021. Photographer: Zahir Niyazi/AA]
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