KABUL: A bomb blast in the Afghan capital ripped through a Sunni mosque and killed at least 10 worshippers on Friday, interior ministry officials said, the latest in a wave of attacks that have rocked the country during the fasting month of Ramazan.
However, Reuters quoted the head of the mosque as saying that the powerful explosion killed more than 50 worshippers. Sayed Fazil Agha said someone they believed was a suicide bomber joined them in the ceremony and detonated explosives.
“Black smoke rose and spread everywhere, dead bodies were everywhere,” he told Reuters, adding that his nephews were among the dead. “I myself survived, but lost my beloved ones.”
The blast hit the Khalifa Sahib Mosque in the west of the capital in the early afternoon, said Besmullah Habib, deputy spokesman for the interior ministry, who said the official confirmed death toll was 10.
Dozens of civilians have been killed in the primarily sectarian attacks — some claimed by the militant Islamic State group — targeting members of the Shia and Sufi Muslim communities.
Grisly images of Friday’s blast posted on social media showed survivors running out of the mosque, with some carrying victims including children. Patches of blood could be seen on the floor of the mosque compound.
Bloodied casualties were ferried in ambulances and vehicles to a hospital in central Kabul but Taliban fighters barred journalists from accessing the facility.
Groups of women were crying outside the hospital and near the mosque in an attempt to find their loved ones, an AFP correspondent reported.
“Around 300 to 400 people were performing rituals when the blast occurred,” said a resident from the area who only gave the name Faraidun.
“I helped carry in vehicles 10 to 15 injured and three who were killed. Many of the injured and martyred are still being evacuated.”
Interior ministry spokesman Abdul Nafi Takor said at least 10 people were killed, while Kabul police said another 30 were injured.
“All of them had come to perform rituals when the blast occurred,” Takor told AFP.
Deputy spokesman of the ministry Bismillah Habib said the explosives had been placed inside the mosque. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.
Friday’s blast comes a day after two bombs on separate minibuses killed at least nine people in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, targeting Shia passengers heading home to break their Ramazan fast.
Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2022