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Over 30 Killed In Afghan Mosque Explosions During Prayers

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BBC


MORE than 30 people are dead and 90 injured after three explosions tore through a Shia mosque during Friday prayers in the Afghan city of Kandahar.

Pictures from inside the Bibi Fatima mosque show shattered windows and bodies lying on the ground and other worshippers trying to help.

The BBC has been told it was a suicide bombing.

Witnesses described three bombers to local media, who detonated devices at the main door and inside the mosque.

Friday prayers are the busiest congregation of the week, and the building was full of worshippers at the time. At least 15 ambulances were at the scene afterwards, an AFP journalist said.

Taliban special forces have secured the site and have asked people to donate blood to help the victims, Reuters reports.

No group has said it carried out the attack, but BBC Afghanistan correspondent Secunder Kermani says that IS-K, a local branch of the Islamic State Group, is expected to say it was behind the blasts.

Kandahar is Afghanistan’s second-largest city and the spiritual birthplace of the Taliban, so an attack in the city by IS-K, which is extremely hostile towards the Taliban, would be significant.

Last Friday, a suicide attack on another Shia mosque during Friday prayers in the northern city of Kunduz killed at least 50 people. IS-K said it carried out the attack, which was the deadliest since US forces left at the end of August.

IS-K, a Sunni Muslim group, is the most extreme and violent of all the jihadist militant groups in Afghanistan. Sunni Muslim extremists have targeted Shia Muslims, whom they see as heretics.

IS-K has targeted Afghan security forces, Afghan politicians and ministries, the Taliban, religious minorities, including Shia Muslims and Sikhs, US and NATO forces, and international agencies, including aid organisations.

The Taliban took control of Afghanistan after foreign forces withdrew from the country at the end of August following a deal agreed with the US.

It came two decades after US forces had removed the militants from power in 2001.