Posts Tagged ‘Suicide bomber’

Blast outside Kabul govt ministry, multiple casualties: officials

June 11, 2018

A suicide attacker blew himself up outside a government ministry in Kabul on Monday, causing multiple casualties, officials said, as employees were leaving their offices early for Ramadan.

Police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said “a number of employees” were killed or wounded in the attack that happened at the main gate of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development.

Employees were leaving their offices at 1:00 pm (0830 GMT) due to the holy month of Ramadan, when most Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset.

© AFP/File | An Afghan policeman keeps watch at a checkpoint in Kabul on June 12, 2014

“A suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest at the entrance gate of the ministry… killing and injuring a number of the employees of the ministry,” Stanikzai told AFP.

Employees inside the ministry at the time of the attack confirmed hearing a blast.

“An explosion happened at the exit gate of the ministry,” Daud Naimi, director of the communications department at the ministry, told AFP.

At least six people were killed and 30 wounded, he said, but that could not be immediately confirmed.

“I was in my office when I heard a big blast,” another employee told AFP.

“Most of my colleagues were leaving for the day to go home. I am worried about my colleagues. We are told to stay inside for now.”

AFP

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Militants attack Afghan ministry with bomb, grenades and gunfire

May 30, 2018

Gunmen armed with assault rifles and grenade launchers stormed the heavily fortified headquarters of the Afghan interior ministry on Wednesday, battling security forces for more than two hours in the latest attack on the capital Kabul.

A car bomb was detonated at the entrance of the ministry to launch the attack and then several gunmen managed to get inside the compound, said a senior police official.

Najib Danish, the ministry spokesman, confirmed the attack was carried out by a group of 10 militants and at least one policeman was killed and five were wounded.

Gunmen armed with assault rifles and grenade launchers stormed the Afghan Interior Ministry on May 30, battling security forces for more than two hours. 

A senior ministry official said one attacker blew himself up inside the compound and another was resisting from a watchtower as a plume of dust and smoke rose over the sprawling site.

Officials inside the ministry said the attackers could not breach key buildings as they are located far from the main entrance and there is a wide flat space inside the compound, helping Afghan forces to subdue the attack quickly.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest in a series in Kabul this year that has killed and wounded hundreds of people, despite repeated official pledges to improve security in the capital.

Last month, two explosions in Kabul killed at least 26 people, including nine journalists who had arrived to report on an initial blast and were targeted by a suicide bomber which was claimed by the Islamic State fighters.

A week before that, 60 people were killed and more than 100 wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a voter registration center in the city.

Islamic State has claimed many attacks in Kabul but Afghan security officials doubt the claims and say many of the attacks are much more likely to be the work of the Haqqani network, a group affiliated with the Taliban which has proven expertise in mounting urban attacks.

The attacks underline a worsening security situation ahead of parliamentary and district council elections scheduled for Oct. 20. The Taliban have threatened to attack voter registration centers.

Security in and around Kabul has been on high alert in recent days with more checkpoints and patrols as the government warned of “complex attacks” by the Taliban on the government or foreign installations in coming weeks.

Provincial cities have also been hit as the Taliban, seeking to reimpose hardline Islamic rule, have stepped up fighting across the country since they announced the beginning of their annual spring offensive in April.

Reuters

Suicide bomber, gunmen attack Save the Children office in Afghanistan

January 24, 2018

AFP

© Screengrab FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24 

Latest update : 2018-01-24

A suicide bomber detonated a car bomb outside the Save the Children office in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad Wednesday as gunmen stormed the premises in an ongoing attack that wounded 11 people so far, according to a local official.

 Image may contain: outdoor

A massive blast was heard near the Save the Children offices early Wednesday, according to witnesses, in what appeared to be a coordinated attack on the London-based NGO that has a long history of working in Afghanistan.

“At around 9:10am a suicide attacker detonated a car bomb at the entrance of Save the Children’s compound in police district three of Jalalabad city,” Nangarhar governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP.

“A group of armed men then entered the compound. So far 11 wounded people have been brought to hospitals.”

Special forces arrived at the scene of the attack and cordoned off a large area around the premises, according to the Afghan Tolo TV station.

The attackers also tossed hand grenades towards security forces, a police officer on the scene told Afghan journalist Bilal Sarwary.

We are fighting 2 or 3 attackers who are inside. Our forces are dealing with a complex situation, a senior officer with Ningarhar police tells me.

Afghan security services have cordoned off a large area around the compound, while relatives of Save the Children staffers, anxious for news of their loved ones, rushed to the scene of the attack.

‘I jumped out of the window’

Mohammad Amin, who was inside the compound when the attackers stormed inside, told AFP from his hospital bed that he heard “a big blast”.

“We ran for cover and I saw a gunman hitting the main gate with an RPG (rocket propelled grenade) to enter the compound. I jumped out of the window,” Amin said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Nangarhar, a restive province bordering Pakistan, is a stronghold for the Islamic State (IS) group and also has a significant Taliban presence.

US and Afghan forces have been carrying out ground and air operations against IS group fighters in Nangarhar.

While Afghan security forces are conducting most of the fighting against the IS group and Taliban militants, US troops operate alongside them in a training capacity and are frequently on the front lines.

The attack comes days after Taliban gunmen raided a luxury hotel in Kabul, killing at least 22 people, mostly foreigners.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2018-01-24

Pakistani police: Suicide bomber targets officer in Karachi

January 17, 2018

Pakistani security officials gather around a damaged police bus at the site of suicide bomb attack in Quetta on January 9, 2018. (AFP)
KARACHI, Pakistan: Pakistani police say a senior officer known for leading raids on militant hideouts escaped assassination when a suicide bomber riding on a motorcycle blew himself up near his vehicle in the port city of Karachi.
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The police say the officer, Rao Anwar, was unhurt in the attack, which took place late on Tuesday. The bomber had an unknown number of accomplices who opened fire at Anwar’s car after the explosion. His guards returned fire, killing two of the gunmen.
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The police have mounted a hunt for the rest of the attackers.
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On Wednesday, Pakistani Taliban spokesman Mohammad Khurasani claimed responsibility for the attack.
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The Taliban have been waging a war on the Pakistani government for years, a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people over the last decade.

Suicide bomber kills 11 people in mosque attack in northeast Nigeria

January 3, 2018

Reuters

ABUJA (Reuters) – A suicide bomber killed 11 people on Wednesday in an attack on a mosque in northeast Nigeria, the epicenter of the conflict with Islamist insurgency Boko Haram, two military officials, a resident and an aid worker said.

The bomber hit the mosque in the town of Gamboru in Borno state, near Nigeria’s border with Cameroon, during dawn prayers, said Ali Mustapha, an aid worker, and Lawan Abba, a resident.

The attack bears the hallmarks of Boko Haram, a jihadist group which frequently uses suicide bombers, often women and girls, to attack crowded public spaces such as mosques and markets.

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Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau — Taken January 2, 2018 – AFP Screenshot

Reporting by Ola Lanre in Lagos and Ahmed Kingimi in Maiduguri; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Alison Williams

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Suicide Attack Kills at Least 41 in Kabul — Sunni extremists of Islamic State claim attck on Shiite Muslim cultural center

December 28, 2017

Islamic State claims attack at Shiite Muslim cultural center in Afghan capital

Afghan security officials inspect the scene of the suicide bomb attack in Kabul on Thursday.Photo: amid/EPA/Shutterstock

KABUL—A suicide bomber struck a Shiite Muslim cultural center in the Afghan capital on Thursday, killing at least 41 people in the latest attack claimed by Islamic State and aimed at escalating sectarian tensions in the country.

The anti-Shiite, Sunni extremists of Islamic State said through the group’s Amaq news agency that they carried out the attack on the Tibayan Cultural Center and the adjacent offices of a news organization, the Afghan Voice Agency. Both organizations are viewed here as ardent supporters of Iranian foreign policy.

Islamic State’s claim of responsibility is the latest instance of the group claiming credit for carnage in mainly Shiite neighborhoods in Kabul. It has said it was behind the separate attacks on Shiite mosques in the capital in October that left at least 88 worshipers dead and hundreds wounded.

The militant group, whose goal of establishing a caliphate in Iraq and Syria has been crushed in recent months, has gained a foothold in eastern Afghanistan in recent years. It is vying with al Qaeda and the Taliban, the country’s main insurgency, for the allegiance of both domestic- and foreign-armed radical Islamists as it comes under increasing pressure from the  expanded U.S. military operations in Afghanistan announced by President Donald Trump in August.

Related Coverage

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The target of Thursday’s attack was a compound in southwestern Kabul shared by the cultural center and the Afghan Voice Agency. Both are owned by Hussani Mazari, an Afghan Shiite cleric and frequent guest of Iranian officials in the Iranian capital.

The bomber made his way to the basement of the building, where a seminar marking the 38th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was under way, and blew himself up, Interior Ministry officials said.

The main blast was followed by two smaller explosions, the officials and witnesses said. In addition to the dead, 84 people were wounded, the Afghan Health Ministry said. Within minutes of the attack, the Taliban denied any involvement in it.

One witness said residents took on the task of ferrying the dead and wounded to hospitals and clinics, as police and rescue services were slow to arrive at the site of the attack.

“After the first blast, I rushed into the building and saw dozens of bodies lying on the ground. While we were evacuating the wounded, two other explosions went off,” said the witness, Murad Ali.

In a statement condemning the assault, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said his government and the Afghan public remained unified against the “baleful plots and conspiracies of the country’s enemies.” His administration, he said, was committed to “annihilating all terrorist groups.”

Through some of majority-Sunni Afghanistan’s worst factional fighting in the 1990s, the country wasn’t beset by the kind of sectarian violence that has afflicted other countries, particularly in the Middle East.

In recent years, however, Afghanistan’s minority Shiite community has been singled out as various militant groups attempt to inflame religious and ethnic tensions and to destabilize the government.

The United Nations said in November that attacks on places of worship, religious leaders and worshipers in Afghanistan, particularly on Shiite congregations, had increased between Jan. 1, 2016, and Nov. 1, 2017.

At least 850 civilians were killed or wounded during that period, nearly double the number during the previous seven-year span, it said, as it urged the government to take additional measures to protect the country’s Shiites.

“Attacks on Shi’a Muslims and their places of worship may be expected to continue—or increase—if action is not taken,” the report said.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/suicide-attack-kills-at-least-35-in-kabul-1514452755

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Bomber attacks Somalia police academy — Overlooked extremist hotbed about to get more attention?

December 14, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabaab lost its foothold in Mogadishu in 2011 but has continued its fight, launching regular attacks on military, government and civilian targets in the Somali capital and elsewhere

MOGADISHU (AFP) – A suicide bomber blew himself up inside the main police academy in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Thursday with several people feared dead, police said.Witnesses said the police were gathering for their early morning parade, and were crowded in an open square when the bomber attacked.

“A man wearing an explosive vest entered the camp disguised as a policeman, and blew himself up,” police officer Mohamed Abdulle said. “There are casualties, and many injuries.”

Abdulle did not immediately have a toll for the number killed but said he feared there could be several dead.

“Medical rescuers are still working on evacuating the casualties,” Abdulle said.

The police camp is Somalia’s biggest police academy.

“Some of the police were already in lines, and others were gathering, when the man in police uniform entered and blew himself up,” said bystander Hussein Ali. “Ambulances have been rushing the wounded away and taking the dead bodies.”

There was no immediate claim of responsiblity for the attack.

However, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabaab has repeatedly attacked police officers in its decade-old battle to overthrow successive internationally-backed governments in Mogadishu.

The Shabaab lost its foothold in Mogadishu in 2011 but has continued its fight, launching regular attacks on military, government and civilian targets in the capital and elsewhere.

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In Somalia, an Overlooked Extremist Hotbed Simmers

A Somali man reacted after an Oct. 14 bombing in Mogadishu.
A Somali man reacted after an Oct. 14 bombing in Mogadishu. PHOTO: MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

The U.S. is ramping up airstrikes on al-Shabaab, which controls roughly 30% of the country

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MOGADISHU, Somalia—Maimed in the war between Somalia’s government and al Qaeda’s affiliate al-Shabaab, the patients of De Martino Hospital prefer not to talk about what happened to them.

“Everybody’s afraid,” the hospital’s director, Abdi Ibrahim Jiya, said as he walked through a ward filled with recent arrivals. “If you complain and are for the government, you’re afraid of the Shabaab. And if you complain and are for the Shabaab, you’re afraid of the government.”

Such is the balance of fear in Somalia’s capital, a bustling city of three million people where, despite years of international military efforts to stamp out Islamic extremists, security remains elusive and government authority fleeting. In October, Mogadishu was hit by Africa’s deadliest terrorist attack—a truck bombing that killed more than 500 people.

Outside Mogadishu, things are worse. Al-Shabaab controls roughly 30% of the country’s territory, Somali government officials estimate. Alongside Taliban-held areas of Afghanistan, that is the world’s largest swath of real estate that remains under jihadist sway since the recent demise of Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

It is also one with a coastline that is easily accessible and as vast as the eastern seaboard of the U.S.

“You look at fighters leaving the Levant as ISIS collapses in Iraq and Syria, and the question is: Where do these fighters end up?” said a U.S. military official familiar with Somalia operations. “Al-Shabaab owns a territory in Somalia that may be a place where they go and that’s something that we’re trying to work with the federal government of Somalia to prevent.”

With key global shipping lanes nearby, a tradition of piracy and proximity to Yemen—another al Qaeda stronghold just across the Gulf of Aden—Somalia isn’t attracting nearly enough international attention, warn senior Western officials involved with the country.

A Somali soldier patrolled next to the wreckage of a car in April.
A Somali soldier patrolled next to the wreckage of a car in April. PHOTO: MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

“Somalia continues to be a global strategic threat. But, with other international crises, it’s being treated as a sideshow,” said Alexander Rondos, the European Union’s special representative for the Horn of Africa.

That is beginning to change under President Donald Trump’s administration. In recent months, the U.S. military began focusing more on Somalia, which has lived through three decades of war and has haunted American policy makers ever since the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” debacle in Mogadishu.

There are now more than 500 U.S. troops operating in Somalia, according to the Pentagon, many of them special operations forces. The U.S. has also dramatically accelerated the pace of airstrikes against al-Shabaab. In one such recent drone attack on Nov. 21, the U.S. said it killed more than 100 militants after targeting an al-Shabaab camp northwest of Mogadishu.

Operating mostly in central and southern Somalia, al-Shabaab has also launched bloody raids in neighboring Kenya and Uganda. The group, which formally became part of al Qaeda in 2012, can field some 9,000 core fighters on Somalia’s battlefields, according to U.S. military estimates.

Unlike some other major Islamist extremist groups such as Nigeria’s Boko Haram, al-Shabaab refused to reflag itself as a “province” of Islamic State when that movement was ascendant in 2014. A separate Islamic State-linked group in Somalia counts roughly 100-200 men and operates mostly in the northern Puntland region, according to the U.S. military.

Much of the fighting against al-Shabaab is currently done by 22,000 African Union troops from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. That African force, however, has suffered horrendous casualties at the hands of the militant group and is beginning to pull out.

To the embattled government of Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, widely known as “Farmajo,” the U.S. represents the best hope for stemming extremist advances.

“If we don’t have the support of the Americans, we cannot stand on our own feet,” said Somalia’s state minister of defense, Mohamed Ali Haga. “The Somali security sector is still disorganized. And we need more drone strikes because a drone can strike the snake in the head.”

On paper, the new U.S.-funded Somali National Army counts some 27,000 men—more than enough to tackle al-Shabaab. Only a fraction of that number, however, is combat ready and actually shows up for duty, Western and Somali officials say. With the exception of a small, U.S.-mentored elite unit, the Somali military only has rudimentary weapons and isn’t capable of mounting operations on its own, they say.

“Al-Shabaab are better trained and got whatever they need while the SNA is neither armed nor trained nor paid properly,” said Jawahir Abdi, a lawmaker representing Somalia’s South West state. “At the moment, the government is not winning at all.”

It has been five months since a government supply convoy last managed to reach the South West state’s capital of Baidoa, said the state president’s chief of staff, Ali Ali.

“Al-Shabaab move freely from town to town, from region to region, while the government sits in an open jail. Those with the government can only fly in and fly out. To go by road, you need to have some kind of relationship with al-Shabaab,” Mr. Ali said.

The group’s readiness to kill to enforce its rules means that ordinary Somalis in areas of al-Shabaab influence—including in Mogadishu—are usually reluctant to cooperate with authorities.

“If people want to inform the government about them, they will be slaughtered just to make an example for others,” said Hassan Mo’alim Hussein, Somalia’s state minister of security. “Al-Shabaab are ruthless.”

Challenging the Somali government’s ability to control Mogadishu is al-Shabaab’s key priority—and the group frequently attacks restaurants and hotels that house politicians, government officials and the few foreigners who dare stay in the city.

The likelihood of kidnapping or attack means that Westerners usually move in Mogadishu in armored vehicles and under the escort of several gunmen. Though new buildings and neighborhoods have come up and the international airport has reopened, much of Mogadishu’s city center—built mostly during Italian colonial times—lies in ruins.

A new area of devastation was created on Oct. 14. Even by al-Shabaab’s standards, the truck bombing at a crowded junction outside the capital’s Safari Hotel was particularly gruesome.

The explosion flattened an entire neighborhood with restaurants, part of the hotel and other buildings collapsing onto their patrons. Somali and Western officials say the bomb likely exploded prematurely, which is why al-Shabaab didn’t claim responsibility for the attack.

Somalis are renowned for their resilience and, at the site of the bombing, a temporary tea shop has already sprung up to replace the destroyed parts of the Safari Hotel. On a recent afternoon, a few dozen men sat there in the shade of the gazebo, drinking milky Somali tea. The intersection was busy again.

“Whatever they do, they cannot stop the will of the people,” said the Safari Hotel’s co-owner, Abdelrazzak Ali, who survived the bombing. “Life will continue, we will rebuild and it will be better than before.”

Even in a city used to bloodshed, the October attack has caused an unusual outpouring of anger against al-Shabaab—an emotional wave that the Somali government hopes to capitalize on.

“This has unified people and has become a turning point,” said Mogadishu’s Mayor Thabit Mohamed. “This showed to the people of Mogadishu: Whether you talk or not, whether you give information to the government or not, you are a target.”

Write to Yaroslav Trofimov at yaroslav.trofimov@wsj.com

Suicide bomber kills Pakistani police officer, security escort

November 24, 2017

Security personnel inspect a destroyed vehicle at the site of suicide bomb attack that targeted a senior Pakistani police officer in Peshawar on November 24. (AFP)

A suicide bomber on a motorcycle struck a vehicle carrying the deputy provincial police chief in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Friday, killing him and his guard and wounding six others, police said.

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The bombing targeted Ashraf Noor, who also holds the rank of inspector-general of police, in northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, senior police officer Shaukat Khan said. He said Noor was going to his office in Peshawar when the attacker rammed his vehicle with his motorcycle.
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Khan said police officers escorting Noor’s vehicle saw a man on a motorcycle hitting Noor’s vehicle, which quickly caught fire.
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TV footage showed the burning vehicle as firefighters struggled to douse the flames.
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No group immediately claimed responsibility but the Pakistani Taliban and Daesh group have been accused by authorities for previous such attacks in various parts of the country.
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Peshawar is the capital of northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where authorities have carried our several operations against militants, but violence has continued.

Suicide bomber kills at least 50 in Nigeria — Boko Haram jihadists blamed

November 21, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File / by Aminu ABUBAKAR | Nigeria maintains Boko Haram is a spent force but its continued attacks underline the lingering threat, particularly to civilians

KANO (NIGERIA) (AFP) – At least 50 people were killed on Tuesday when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a mosque in northeast Nigeria, police said, in an attack blamed on Boko Haram jihadists.The blast happened during early morning prayers at the Madina mosque in the Unguwar Shuwa area of Mubi, some 200 kilometres (125 miles) by road from the Adamawa state capital, Yola.

“So far we have at least 50 dead from an attack at a mosque in Mubi,” Adamawa state police spokesman Othman Abubakar told AFP.

“Several people were injured. We don’t have the figure now because they have been taken to several hospitals for treatment.

“It was a (suicide) bomber who mingled with worshippers. He entered the mosque along with other worshippers for the morning prayers.

“It was when the prayers were on that he set off his explosives.”

Asked who was responsible, Abubakar said: “We all know the trend. We don’t suspect anyone specifically but we know those behind such kind of attacks.”

The attack bore all the hallmarks of Boko Haram, the Islamist militants whose insurgency has left at least 20,000 people dead and more than 2.6 million others homeless since 2009.

Haruna Furo, head of the Adamawa state emergency management agency, and Musa Hamad Bello, chairman of the Mubi north local government area, both confirmed the attack.

They gave lower death tolls but both said the number of those killed was likely to rise.

Another emergency services official described the blast as “devastating”. He said only that there were “high casualties”.

– Roof blown off –

Abubakar Sule, who lives near the mosque, said he had just returned home when he heard the blast.

“I was there when the rescue was on and 40 people died on the spot and several others were taken to hospital with severe and life-threatening injuries,” he added.

“The roof was blown off. People near the mosque said the prayer was mid-way when the bomber, who was obviously in the congregation, detonated his explosives.

“This is obviously the work of Boko Haram.”

Boko Haram briefly overran Mubi in late 2014 as its fighters rampaged across northeastern Nigeria, seizing towns and villages in its quest to establish a hardline Islamic state.

The town’s name was changed temporarily to Madinatul Islam, or “City of Islam” in Arabic, during the Boko Haram occupation.

But it has been peaceful since the military and the civilian militia ousted them from the town, which is a commercial hub and home to the Adamawa State University.

In recent months, Boko Haram activity has been concentrated on the far north of Adamawa state, around Madagali, which is near the border with neighbouring Borno state.

Earlier this month, at least two civilians were killed when dozens of Boko Haram fighters tried to storm the town of Gulak but were repelled by soldiers.

There have been repeated suicide bombings in the area, which lies not far from the Sambisa Forest area of Borno, where the militants had a base.

Boko Haram fighters are also said to be hiding in the Mandara mountains, to the east of Adamawa state, which forms the border with neighbouring Cameroon.

by Aminu ABUBAKAR

Another Kabul mosque hit by suicide bomber — Two deadly mosque attacks on Friday

October 21, 2017

AFP

© AFP / by Wakil KOHSAR | Afghan residents look inside the Imam Zaman Shiite mosque which was a the site of a suicide attack during evening prayers, in Kabul on October 21, 2017

KABUL (AFP) – A strong smell of blood and flesh permeated the Imam Zaman mosque in Kabul on Saturday hours after dozens of Shiite worshippers were slaughtered by a suicide bomber during evening prayers.Broken glass and dust covered the red carpet, soaked in the blood of the men, women and children who had been praying on Friday when the attacker blew himself up, causing carnage in the cavernous prayer hall.

At least 39 people were killed and 45 others wounded in the assault claimed by the Islamic State group — one of two deadly mosque attacks on Friday — capping one of the bloodiest weeks in Afghanistan in recent memory.

“The windows of the mosque were broken, and blood and human flesh were spattered everywhere and you could smell blood and human flesh inside the mosque,” Ibrahim, who rushed to the mosque after the blast, told AFP.

“This is absolutely barbarism. What kind of Islam is this? They are attacking worshippers at the time of prayers, even mosques are not safe for us to pray.”

Hours after the suicide bomb the Taliban fired two rockets at the headquarters of NATO’s Resolute Support mission in the heavily fortified diplomatic quarter of Kabul. There were no reports of casualties but the attack underlined the worsening security in the country.

Early Saturday dozens of anxious relatives, some of them crying, stood outside the mosque’s main gate which had been cordoned off by heavily armed police, as they waited for news of the whereabouts of their loved ones.

– ‘Worshippers covered in blood’ –

An eyewitness told AFP that the attacker detonated his explosive device among the worshippers towards the end of the prayer session.

“It was one suicide bomber packed with explosives and hand grenades wrapped around his body,” the man told AFP.

The dead and wounded were taken to hospitals around the Afghan capital but eyewitnesses complained to local media that it had taken emergency services more than an hour to arrive at the scene.

Hundreds of sandals littered the entrance to the mosque, left behind by the worshippers killed and wounded in the latest deadly attack on a Shiite mosque.

A woman wearing a hijab sobbed as she crouched on the ground searching for the shoes of her brother and young nephews who died in the attack.

“I was in the mosque bathroom when I heard a blast. I rushed inside the mosque and saw all the worshippers covered in blood,” Hussain Ali told AFP shortly after the explosion.

“Some of the wounded were fleeing. I tried to stop someone to help me help the wounded but everyone was in a panic. It took ambulances and the police about an hour to reach the area.”

The force of the blast shattered all the windows of the mosque. Its walls and ceiling were covered with dark blood spatters and peppered with shrapnel.

Several men moved around the room picking up dozens of coloured prayer beads and Koran holy books left on the floor.

“What kind of Muslim they are? What is our government doing?” Rasoul, a shopkeeper in the area, told AFP through sobs.

“We are tired of living here, we are not even safe inside the holy sites.”

by Wakil KOHSAR
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