Suicide bomber kills dozens at Shia mosque in Kabul

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Afghan policemen arrive at the scene of a suicide attack on a mosque in Kabul. CREDIT REUTERS

By Sara Elizabeth Williams

At least 27 people have been killed and more than 35 injured in a suicide attack on a crowded Shia mosque in Kabul, the third major attack on minority Shias in the city since July.

The attacker entered the Baqir-ul-Olum mosque shortly after midday as worshippers had gathered for a ceremony, the interior ministry said in a statement.

Afghan Municipality workers sweep Baqir-ul-Olum mosque after a suicide attack
Afghan workers sweep Baqir-ul-Olum mosque after a suicide attack CREDIT: AP

“I was in the mosque, the people were offering prayers. Suddenly I heard a bang and windows broke. I had no idea what had happened. I rushed out screaming,” Ali Jan told AFP news agency.

“I saw people screaming and covered in blood,” another survivor told Afghanistan’s Ariana Television. He claimed to have seen 40 dead and 80 injured taken from the mosque before rescue services arrived.

Fraidoon Obaidi, of the Kabul police Criminal Investigation Department, said the death total from the incident could rise.

Afghan relatives and doctors move a wounded Afghan man at the Estiqlal Hospital after a massive suicide blast at a Shia mosque
Afghan relatives and doctors move a wounded Afghan man at the Estiqlal Hospital after a massive suicide blast at a Shia mosque CREDIT: AFP

The Taliban denied it was involved.  The hard line Sunni group is pushing to reassert control over Afghanistan after being ousted by US forces in 2001.

“We have never attacked mosques as it is not our agenda,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman.

No other group has claimed responsibility.

While majority-Sunni Afghanistan has struggled to maintain stability since the US invasion, the country has long been spared the kind of bloody sectarian fighting common in Iraq and Syria.

Obama slows US troop drawdown in AfghanistanPlay!00:42

This attack, the latest in a string of suicide blasts targeting Shias, suggests Afghanistan may no longer be immune.

Last month, during Ashura, a major Shia festival, a suicide bomber killed 14 people at a mosque in Balkh, in northern Afghanistan.

That attack came just days after 18 people were killed in a Kabul attack that targeted Shias and was claimed by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

In July, more than 80 people were killed in an attack on a demonstration by the mainly Shia Hazara minority.

Abdullah Abdullah, a government official in Kabul, condemned the attack as a sign of barbarism but said Afghanistan should not fall victim to “enemy plots that divide us by titles”.

“This attack targeted innocent civilians – including children – in a holy place. It is a war crime & an act against Islam & humanity,” he said in a message on his Twitter account.

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One Response to “Suicide bomber kills dozens at Shia mosque in Kabul”

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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