Suicide bombers assaulted a Shiite mosque in southern Afghanistan that was packed with worshippers attending weekly Friday prayers, killing at least 62 people and wounding more than 70, according to a hospital official and an eyewitness.
The attack on the Imam Barga mosque came a week after a bombing claimed by a local Daesh affiliate killed 46 people at a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan.
Murtaza, an eye-witness, said four suicide bombers attacked the mosque. Two detonated their explosives at a security gate, allowing the other two to run inside and strike the congregation of worshippers.
Speaking to The Associated Press by phone, he said Friday prayers are typically attended by around 500 people.
Video footage from the scene showed bodies scattered across blood-stained carpets, with survivors walking around in a daze or crying out in anguish.
Taking to Twitter, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid condemned the attack and wrote: “The Islamic Emirate condemns the barbaric attack on civilians in a mosque in Kandahar.
We have directed the security forces to find the perpetrators of such grave crimes as soon as possible and bring them to justice.” “The Islamic Emirate also extends its deepest condolences to the families of the victims,” he added.
A local reporter in Kandahar told Reuters that eyewitnesses had described three suicide attackers, one of whom blew himself up at the entrance to the mosque with the two others detonating their devices inside the building.
“The situation is very bad. Mirwais hospital is messaging and calling on young people to give blood,” he said, referring to a local hospital where dead and injured had been taken.
A health official gave figures of 33 dead and 73 wounded and said the final total could be higher. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.- AP/Reuters