Blast kills more than 50 in Kabul bombing - GulfToday

Blast kills more than 50 in Kabul bombing


Afghan men flee from the site of explosions at Khalifa Sahib Mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan. Reuters

Gulf Today Report

A powerful bomb blast in the Afghan capital ripped through a mosque and killed at least 50 worshippers on Friday, interior ministry officials said, the latest in a wave of attacks that have rocked the country during the fasting month of Ramadan.

Afghan officials announced that the powerful explosion in a mosque west of the capital, Kabul, during Friday prayers, killing at least 50 people, in a series of attacks during the month of Ramadan.


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Bismillah Habib, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said that the explosion occurred at about two o'clock local time.

Eyewitnesses reported, according to reporters, that they saw the transport of people inside ambulances after the explosion, which was very loud, and a nurse at a nearby hospital indicated that they had received a number of injured people in critical condition.

It is noteworthy that dozens of Afghan civilians were killed in the past weeks in a number of explosions, and Daesh claimed responsibility for some of them.

The attack came as worshippers at the mosque gathered after Friday prayers for a congregation known as Zikr — an act of religious remembrance practised by some Muslims but seen as heretical by some hardline groups.

Sayed Fazil Agha, the head of the mosque, said someone they believed was a suicide bomber joined them in the ceremony and detonated explosives.

"Black smoke rose and spread everywhere, dead bodies were everywhere," he said, adding that his nephews were among the dead. "I myself survived, but lost my beloved ones."

An injured man is carried to a hospital after an explosion rockets Kabul. File photo

Resident Mohammad Sabir said he had seen wounded people being loaded into ambulances.

"The blast was very loud, I thought my eardrums were cracked," he said.

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

Men gather to identify the body of a relative who was killed in a blast. File/Reuters

"No words are strong enough to condemn this despicable act," said Mette Knudsen, the UN secretary general's deputy special representative for Afghanistan.

Emergency Hospital in downtown Kabul said it was treating 21 patients and two were dead on arrival. A worker at another hospital treating attack patients said it had received 49 patients and around five bodies. Ten of the patients were in critical condition, the source added, and almost 20 had been admitted to the burns unit.

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

It was not immediately clear who was responsible.

Scores of Afghan civilians have been killed in recent weeks in blasts, some of which have been claimed by Daesh.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks to the media. File photo

Emergency Hospital said it had treated more than 100 patients wounded in attacks in Kabul in April alone. The latest attack came on the last Friday in the month of Ramadan in which most Muslims fast, and before the religious holiday of Eid next week.

The Taliban say they have secured the country since taking power in August and largely eliminated Daesh's local offshoot, but international officials and analysts say the risk of a resurgence in militancy remains.

Many of the attacks have targeted the Shi'ite minority, however Sunni mosques have also been attacked.

Bombs exploded aboard two passenger vans carrying Shi'ite Muslims in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif on Thursday, killing at least nine people. Last Friday, a blast tore through a Sunni mosque during Friday prayers in the city of Kunduz, killing 33.




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