Afghanistan: Blast in Shia mosque of Kandahar, 33 killed, 74 injured

Kandahar: A suicide bomber attacked a Shia mosque during Friday prayers in Afghanistan’s southern city of Kandahar, killing at least 33 people and injuring 74 others. The attack came a week after a suicide attack on Shia worshipers at a mosque in the northern city of Kunduz claimed by the Islamic State group. No responsibility has yet been claimed for the attack in Kandahar, a spiritual stronghold of the Taliban.

A local Taliban official told AFP on condition of anonymity: “Our initial information suggests that it was a suicide bomber who blew himself up inside the mosque. We have started investigation.”

“So far 33 bodies and 74 injured have been brought to our hospital,” a doctor at the city’s central Mirwais Hospital told AFP.

Other medical sources and a provincial official confirmed more than 30 deaths, and at least 15 ambulances left the scene.

A doctor at the hospital told the agency, “A lot of dead bodies and injured people have been brought to our hospital. We look forward to more to come. We are in urgent need of blood. We have asked all the local media in Kandahar to ask people to come and donate blood.”

An eyewitness told AFP he heard three explosions, one at the main entrance of the mosque, another in the southern area and the third where worshipers bathe before prayers.

Another eyewitness also said that three blasts rocked the mosque in the heart of the city during Friday prayers, which was the busiest event of the week.

“We are saddened to learn that an explosion occurred at a Shia Brotherhood mosque in the First District of Kandahar City, killing and wounding many of our compatriots,” Qari Syed Khosti, spokesman for the Taliban movement’s interior ministry, tweeted.

(with agency input)