Afghanistan: New attack kills 14 worshippers at mosque
Blast in northern Balkh province comes a day after ISIL gunman killed 18 at
Kabul shrine on the holy day of Ashoura.
ISIL claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack that killed at least 18 people
in Kabul [Hedayatullah Amid/EPA]
At least 14 Afghan civilians have been killed in a bomb blast outside a mosque
in northern Balkh province, a day after a deadly gun attack on Shia worshippers
at a shrine in the capital, Kabul.
Munir Ahmad Farhad, spokesman for the provincial governor in Balkh, said on
Wednesday the attack targeted a group of Shia Muslims following ceremonies
commemorating Ashoura, a major religious holiday.
He said 36 people were also wounded in the explosion in the provincial capital,
"The death toll could rise because a number of the wounded people are in
critical condition," said Farhad, adding the bomb appeared to have been
detonated by remote control.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday's blast.
READ MORE: Ashoura day - why Muslims fast and mourn on Muharram 10
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) claimed
responsibility for a similar attack on the Shia community in Kabul on Tuesday.
At least 18 people were killed, according to a United Nations tally, by a
gunman who entered the Karte Shakhi shrine and opened fire on a crowd of
worshippers gathered for Ashoura.
ISIL said in a statement on Wednesday that the attacker detonated a suicide
vest after firing all his ammunition, but security forces said they shot the
A Reuters video showed the suspected attacker's body intact, with no sign of an
One survivor, Saleha, said from her hospital bed that she was sheltering her
infant daughter when the gunman came upon them.
"He ran out of bullets and while he was changing his gun's magazine I begged
him, saying my six-month old is innocent, please don't kill us. He shook his
head saying 'OK, OK' and went out."
IN PICTURES - Muslims worldwide mark Ashoura
Ashoura marks the 7th-century death of a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, Imam
The day is typically marked by processions that often include self-flagellation
by some worshippers. Government warnings of possible attacks prompted a more
subdued observation this year.
In Afghanistan, Shia Muslims make up an estimated 15 percent of the population
of about 30 million and most are ethnic Hazaras. Groups such as the Taliban and
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) view Shias as apostates and
frequently attack their mosques and public gatherings.
An ISIL attack on the ethnic minority on July 23 in Kabul killed 84 people and
wounded 130 others.
Source: News Agencies