A massive blast at the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan late Friday morning was the result of an apparent suicide bombing that has killed at least 46 Shiite Muslim worshipers – most of whom were Hazaras – and injured more than 140 others.
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility.
The attack on Friday is the deadliest since the double suicide bombings near Hamid Karzi International Airport on the outskirts of Kabul on August 26th that took the lives of 169 Afghans and 13 United States service members. ISIS quickly admitted that it was behind the bombings, which coincided with the final days of the American withdrawal from the war-torn nation that was negotiated with the Taliban by former President Donald Trump.
It was also the third such attack on a religious institution within the past week.
The explosion tore through a mosque in the city of Kunduz during noon prayers, the highlight of the Muslim religious week. It blew out windows, charred the ceiling, and scattered debris and twisted metal across the floor. Rescuers carried one body out on a stretcher and another in a blanket. Blood stains covered the front steps.
Area resident Hussaindad Rezayee said he rushed to the mosque when he heard the explosion, just as prayers started. ‘I came to look for my relatives, the mosque was full,’ he said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for what Kunduz police said may have been a suicide attack. But militants from a local Islamic State affiliate have a long history of attacking Afghanistan’s ethnic and religious minorities.
The worshippers targeted Friday were Hazaras, who have long suffered from double discrimination as an ethnic minority and as followers of Shiite Islam in a majority Sunni country.
The news agency added that the United Nation condemned the bombings as “part of a disturbing pattern of violence” against organizations of faith.
This is a developing story.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.