Conflicts & War

At least 10 dead, dozens wounded in suicide bombing at Kabul Sufi mosque

Kabul, Apr 29 (EFE).- At least 10 people died and several dozens were wounded Friday in a suicide bombing at a mosque in the Afghan capital, where hundreds of worshipers were gathered for prayer, marking the latest in a series of escalating violence in Afghanistan.

The attack on the Khalifa Sahib mosque in Darul Aman area of the Kabul city took place around 4.20 pm, when a group of Sufi Muslims was offering special prayers, police chief Hafiz Omar told EFE.

“The information from the interior ministry confirms that 10 persons were killed,” Kabul police spokesperson Khalid Zadran told EFE.

Earlier, a doctor from Esteqlal Hospital, who asked not to be named, has reported that some 50 people were wounded.

Police said the suicide bomber detonated the explosives inside the prayer hall where hundreds of people were busy with a ritual prayer or litany practiced by Muslims who follow mysticism.

The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan released a statement condemning the attack, in which it revealed that as a result of the attack the roof of the mosque caved in on worshipers.

Despite the official toll, local hospitals have reported far higher casualty figures, with dozens believed to be killed and injured, including many children, according to the statement.

“Today’s blast, which comes on the last Friday of the holy week of Ramadan, is yet another painful blow to the people of Afghanistan who continue to be exposed to unremitting insecurity and violence,” said UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, Ramiz Alakbarov.

He further expressed condolences to the families of the victims and those affected, and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

“I reiterate that directing attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, including mosques, is strictly prohibited under international humanitarian law,” he stressed.

Acting Deputy Culture and Information Minister Zabiullah Mujahid tweeted condemning the attack especially during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and expressed condolences to the families of those affected, while also promising that the perpetrators would be found and punished.

Radical Islamists, like the Islamic State jihadist group, are opposed to such practices and call them apostates who follow Sufism or visit Sufi shrines.

No group immediately claimed the attack even as it bore the hallmark of the Islamic State-Khorasan, the Afghan franchisee of global militant group.

The blast comes a day after at least 10 people were killed and 13 injured in two explosions targeting vehicles carrying passengers in northern Afghanistan.

The passengers were Shia Muslims traveling home for Eid, one of the most important religious holidays of the year.

A series of attacks rocked several parts of the country over the past week, one of the bloodiest since the Taliban came to power in August.

Last week, an explosion after Friday prayers at a mosque in the Imam Sahib district of the northern province of Kunduz left at least 33 dead and 43 wounded.

The Shia minority was targeted just a day earlier, with an attack on a mosque claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group in Mazar-e-Sharif that left at least 12 dead and 35 wounded.

These attacks are in addition to those that took place on Tuesday at two educational centers in the Shia Hazara minority neighborhood of Dashte Barchi, in western Kabul, causing at least six deaths.

Activists suggest that the death toll could be much higher, but believe that the Taliban authorities are trying to lower the figure to give a sense of security in the country.

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