AFGHANISTAN

27 Shia wor­ship­pers killed in Kabul mosque at­tack

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

At least 27 peo­ple have been killed in a sus­pected sui­cide at­tack at a mosque in the Afghan cap­i­tal, according to of­fi­cials in Kabul. An es­ti­mated 35 peo­ple were also in­jured but sur­vived af­ter the blast dur­ing the Baqirul Olum mosque cer­e­mony in the west of the city yes­ter­day. Wor­ship­pers were mark­ing the Shia cer­e­mony of Ar­baeen, which com­mem­o­rates the as­sas­si­nated grand­son of the Prophet Muham­mad, and which comes 40 days af­ter the ma­jor Ashura fes­ti­val. Se­nior police of­fi­cial Fri­don Obaidi said: “It was a sui­cide bomber who blew him­self up among wor­ship­pers in­side the mosque, killing 27 and wound­ing 35.” Ear­lier this year, a pow­er­ful blast tar­get­ing Shia mus­lims dur­ing Ashura killed 14 peo­ple in north­ern Afghanistan. Wit­ness Ali Jan said: “I was in the mosque, the peo­ple were of­fer­ing prayers. “Sud­denly I heard a bang and win­dows broke. I had no idea what had hap­pened. I rushed out scream­ing.” No in­vid­ual or or­gan­i­sa­tion has yet claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for Mon­day’s at­tack. The Tal­iban, seek­ing to reim­pose Is­lamic law af­ter their 2001 ouster, de­nied they were re­spon­si­ble. “We have never at­tacked mosques as it’s not our agenda,” said the move­ment’s main spokesman, Zabi­hul­lah Mu­jahid. Bloody sec­tar­ian ri­valry be­tween Sunni and Shia Mus­lims has been rel­a­tively rare in Afghanistan, which is a ma­jor­ity Sunni coun­try. Govern­ment chief ex­ec­u­tive Ab­dul­lah Ab­dul­lah con­demned the at­tack as a sign of bar­barism but said Afghanistan should not fall vic­tim to “en­emy plots that di­vide us by ti­tles”. “This at­tack tar­geted in­no­cent civil­ians - in­clud­ing chil­dren - in a holy place. It is a war crime & an act against Is­lam & hu­man­ity,” he said in a mes­sage on his Twit­ter ac­count. Shia mus­lims make up around 15 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion in Afghanistan. An at­tack in July, claimed by Daesh, killed 80 peo­ple at a Shia protest march in Kabul. More than 100 peo­ple were in­jured and at least 25 killed in twin Isis-claimed blasts us­ing am­bu­lances in Sa­marra and Tikrit in Iraq.

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