More than 40 dead after explosion rips through mosque in Afghanistan

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More than 40 dead after explosion rips through mosque in Afghanistan
Insider
  • More than 40 people were killed and dozens injured in a blast at a mosque in Afghanistan.
  • The explosion happened at the Fatemieh mosque in Kandahar on Friday.

More than 40 people were killed in an explosion at a majority-Shiite mosque in southern Afghanistan, the Associated Press reported.

The attack happened at the Fatemieh mosque in Kandahar during Friday prayers, the BBC and AP reported. The AP reports that at least 47 people are dead.

At least 70 people are injured, the AP reported. Victims were being treated at the nearby Mirwais hospital, CNN reported.

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An official told Reuters that the final death and injury toll could continue to rise.

Both the BBC and AP reported that the attack was a suicide bombing. Authorities have not yet confirmed the nature of the attack.

Graphic videos posted to social media purportedly shows worshippers covered in blood inside the mosque in the aftermath of the blast. Insider has chosen not to republish the footage.

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A person who witnessed the blasts, identified by the AP as Murtaza, said he saw four suicide bombers detonate at the mosque.

Another person near the scene of the attack told Agence France-Presse that there were three explosions at the mosque complex: One at the main door, one in an area to the south, and one in the area where worshippers wash before prayers.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, but there is speculation that ISIS-K - the Islamic State offshoot in Afghanistan which considers the Taliban an enemy for not being sufficiently devout - is behind the bombing.

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Last week, ISIS-K claimed responsibility after a suicide bomb detonated in a mosque in Kunduz, killing 50 people.

After that blast, Qari Sayed Khosti, the spokesperson for the Taliban's interior ministry, tweeted: "We are saddened to learn that an explosion took place in a mosque of the Shiite brotherhood in the first district of Kandahar city in which a number of our compatriots were martyred and wounded."

The attack on the mosque in Kunduz last week marked the largest of several attacks carried out by ISIS-K since the US military withdrawal in Afghanistan in late August.

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In the vacuum left by the US, the Taliban seized control, but they have faced opposition from some rebel groups and the likes of ISIS-K.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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