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 
man dead.

A Reuters video showed the suspected attacker's body intact, with no sign of an 
explosive vest.

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

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