At least 72 dead as suicide bombers strike 2 Afghan mosques

October 21, 2017 - 7:30 AM
Victims' shoes at the site of a suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Reuters file)

KABUL — (UPDATE – 10:17 a.m.) Suicide bombers attacked two mosques in Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least 72 people including children, officials and witnesses said.

And early Saturday morning, as many as two rockets landed near the international military headquarters in downtown Kabul, Afghan security officials said.

One bomber walked into a Shi‘ite Muslim mosque in the capital Kabul as people were praying on Friday night and detonated an explosive, one of the worshippers there, Mahmood Shah Husaini, said.

At least 39 people died in the blast at the Imam Zaman mosque in the city’s western Dasht-e-Barchi district, interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the, saying in a statement that a suicide bomber had detonated a vest, but without providing evidence to support its claim.

Shi‘ite Muslims have suffered a series of attacks in Afghanistan in recent months, many of them claimed by the Sunni militants of Islamic State.

Separately, a suicide bombing killed at least 33 people at a mosque in central Ghor province, a police spokesman said.

The attack appeared to target a local leader from the Jamiat political party, according to a statement from Balkh provincial governor Atta Mohammad Noor, a leading figure in Jamiat.

No one immediately claimed responsibility.

There were no reports of casualties in the rocket strikes.

At around 6 a.m. (01:30 am GMT) alarms could be heard sounding at the headquarters of the NATO-led military mission, as well as at several foreign embassies in the area.

The alarms were followed by several loud explosions.