More than 50 people were killed in an explosion at a mosque in Kabul, its leader says 2022-04-29 16:23:00


KABUL (Reuters) – A powerful explosion killed more than 50 worshipers after Friday prayers at a mosque in Kabul, the leader of the group said in the latest in a series of attacks on civilian targets in Afghanistan during the month of Ramadan.

Basemullah Habib, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said that the explosion hit the Khalifa Sahib Mosque, west of the capital, early this afternoon, adding that the official confirmed that the death toll had reached 10.

The attack came as worshipers gathered at the Sunni mosque after Friday prayers for the worshipers known as dhikr – a religious act of remembrance practiced by some Muslims but considered heretical by some hardline Sunni groups.

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Syed Fazil Agha, head of the mosque, said a person believed to be a suicide bomber joined them in the ceremony and detonated explosives.

“Black smoke rose and spread everywhere and bodies are scattered everywhere,” he told Reuters, adding that his nephews were among the dead. “I survived myself, but lost loved ones.”

One resident, Muhammad Saber, said he saw wounded people being loaded into ambulances.

“The explosion was so strong, I thought my eardrums were cracked,” he said.

A health source said that hospitals received 66 bodies and 78 wounded so far.

The United States and the United Nations mission in Afghanistan condemned the attack, with the latter saying it was part of an escalation of violence in recent weeks that targeted minorities, adding that at least two United Nations staff members and their families were at the mosque in Baghdad. attack time.

“There are no words strong enough to condemn this despicable act,” said Mette Knudsen, Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Afghanistan.

The emergency hospital in central Kabul said it was treating 21 patients and two died on arrival. A worker at another hospital treating attacked patients said he received 49 patients and about five bodies. The source added that ten patients are in critical condition and nearly 20 have been admitted to the burn unit.

A spokesman for the ruling Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, issued a statement condemning the blast and said the perpetrators would be found and punished.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible.

Dozens of Afghan civilians have been killed in recent weeks in bombings, some of which were claimed by ISIS.

The emergency hospital said it treated more than 100 patients injured in attacks in Kabul in April alone. The latest attack came last Friday of Ramadan, when most Muslims fast, and ahead of the Eid holiday next week.

The Taliban say they have secured the state since taking power in August and have largely eliminated the local branch of Islamic State, but international officials and analysts say the risk of a resurgence of militancy remains.

Many of the attacks targeted the Shi’ite minority, but Sunni mosques were also attacked.

Bombs exploded on board two passenger trucks carrying Shiites in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif on Thursday, killing at least nine people. Last Friday, an explosion destroyed a Sunni mosque during Friday prayers in the city of Kunduz, killing 33.

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Kabul newsroom report; Written by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by William MacLean, Thomas Janowski, Frances Kerry, Nick McPhee, and Danielle Wallis

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.