Blast kills more than 50 worshippers at Kabul mosque

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A powerful explosion killed more than 50 worshippers after Friday prayers at a Kabul mosque, its leader said, amid a series of attacks on civilian targets in Afghanistan during the Muslim holy month of Ramazan.

The blast hit the Khalifa Sahib Mosque in the west of the capital in the early afternoon, said Besmullah Habib, deputy spokesperson for the interior ministry, who said the official confirmed death toll was 10. This was just as worshippers at the mosque gathered after Friday prayers for a congregation known as Zikr – an act of religious remembrance practiced by some Muslims.

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 told Reuters, adding that his nephews were among the dead.

“I myself survived, but lost my beloved ones,” he said. One man who was inside the mosque at the time told media the huge blast tore through the building during prayers, the explosion burning his feet and hands. Mohammad Sabir, a resident in the area, said he had seen people being loaded into ambulances after the explosion.

“The blast was very loud, I thought my eardrums were cracked,” he said. Emergency Hospital in downtown Kabul said it was treating 20 patients wounded in the blast. A nurse at another hospital, who declined to be named, said they had received several injured people in critical condition.

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