Death toll from the suicide bombing attack at a Shia mosque in Afghanistan’s northeastern city of Kunduz during Friday prayer has reached 55, reports said.
Scores more victims from the minority community were wounded in the blast, which was claimed by the Islamic State group and appeared designed to further destabilise Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban takeover.
“An explosion took place in a mosque of our Shia compatriots as a result of which a number of our compatriots were martyred and wounded”, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter, adding that a special unit was arriving at the scene to investigate.
There are conflicting reports about the number of casualties. A UN agency said that the explosion killed or wounded more than 100 people.
In a tweet, the United Nations’ mission to Afghanistan said that “initial information indicates more than 100 people have been killed and injured in a suicide blast inside the mosque”.
Video footage showed bodies surrounded by debris inside the mosque that is used by people from the minority Shia Muslim community, Al Jazeera reported.
Dost Mohammad Obaida, the deputy police chief for Kunduz province, said that the majority of them have been killed.
A medical source at the Kunduz Provincial Hospital said that 35 dead and more than 50 wounded had been taken there, while a worker at a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital reported 15 dead and scores more wounded.
“We have received more than 90 wounded patients and over 15 dead bodies, but the number will change. We are still receiving more people,” said the MSF hospital worker.
Meanwhile, a Taliban official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters news agency that at least 28 people had been killed in the explosion with dozens more wounded.
Residents in Kunduz, the capital of a province told AFP news agency that the blast hit the mosque during Friday prayers.
Graphic images shared on social media, which could not immediately be verified, showed several bloodied bodies lying on the floor. Another video showed men shepherding people, including women and children, away from the scene.
No group has yet claimed the responsibility for the attack.
There have been several attacks, including one at a mosque in Kabul, in recent weeks, some of which have been claimed by an armed group affiliated with ISIL (ISIS).
— Aamaj News (@AamajN) October 8, 2021