Worshippers targeted by mosque bomber

INNOCENT VICTIM: A wounded boy in a hospital after the suicide attack in Afghanistan. Picture: REUTERS
INNOCENT VICTIM: A wounded boy
in a hospital after the suicide attack
in Afghanistan. Picture: REUTERS

A massive suicide blast at a Shiite mosque in Kabul killed at least 27 people yesterday and wounded 35 as worshippers gathered for a religious ceremony.

The attacker was among worshippers inside the mosque when he detonated the bomb, senior police official Fridon Obaidi said.

Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said the blast occurred at lunchtime.

Police cordoned off the area around the Baqirul Olum mosque in the west of the Afghan capital as ambulances rushed to the scene.

“I heard a blast and dust covered the whole mosque,” worshipper Nadir Ali said.

“When the dust settled down, I saw the mosque was full of flesh and blood. I was injured in my waist and had to crawl out of the mosque.”

Another worshipper, 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.”

President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the attack.

Mosques in Kabul generally do not have any security – though police patrols can be seen near some on Fridays– and some witnesses criticized the government over the lack of protection yesterday.

“They know that Daesh [IS] who is able to conduct attacks in Europe, can reach places in Afghanistan easily.

They should provide security to sacred places,” one man said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast yet.

Worshippers were gathering for the major Shiite ceremony of Arbaeen, marking the end of a 40-day mourning period after Ashura, which commemorates the death of Imam Hussein.

Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, was assassinated in the year 680.

His fate laid the foundation for the faith practised by the Shiite community, a minority in mainly Sunni Muslim Afghanistan.

Millions of Shiite Muslim pilgrims gather each year in the holy Iraqi city of Karbala for the Arbaeen pilgrimage, one of the world’s largest religious events.

Officials expect up to 20 million visitors this year.

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