Suicide blast targeting Shiites at Kabul mosque kills 27
REUTERS photoA massive suicide blast targeting Shiites killed at least 27 people and wounded 35 as worshippers gathered at a Kabul mosque Nov. 21, officials said, the latest sectarian attack to rock the Afghan capital.
The attacker was mingling with worshippers inside the Baqirul Olum mosque in the west of the city when he detonated the bomb, said senior police official Fridon Obaidi, according to AFP.
The blast left a large crater inside the two-story mosque. Bodies covered in blood could be seen on the ground among shattered glass.
“I heard a blast and dust covered the whole mosque,” said worshipper Nadir Ali.
“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, told AFP: “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.”
The 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.
The death toll given by Obaidi was confirmed by a health ministry spokesman. Women and children were among the wounded.
Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said the blast happened around 12:30 p.m. (08:00 a.m. GMT). Police cordoned off the area as ambulances rushed to the scene.
President Ashraf Ghani said in a statement he strongly condemned the “barbaric” attack, which the UN called an “atrocity.”
NATO commander in Afghanistan General John Nicholson offered condolences and the U.S. embassy in Kabul also condemned the blast, which Amnesty International called “horrific and deliberate.”