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Blast targets Shia mosque in Afghanistan’s Kunduz city

Locals say several casualties feared after explosion rips through a mosque for Shia Muslims during Friday prayers.

People inspect the inside of a mosque following a bombing in Kunduz province northern Afghanistan on October 8, 2021. (AP)

A powerful explosion has targeted a mosque in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz and left several casualties, a senior Taliban official and witnesses said.

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The blast occurred during the weekly Friday prayer service at the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque when members of the Shia religious minority typically come in large numbers for worship.

Witness Ali Reza said he was praying at the time of the explosion and reported seeing many casualties.

Taliban chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the Shia mosque was the target and that a “large number” of worshippers were killed and wounded.

He said Taliban special forces had arrived at the scene and were investigating the incident.

The cause of the blast was not immediately clear. No group has yet claimed responsibility for it.

Several casualties suspected

Interior ministry spokesman Qari Sayed Khosti confirmed the blast to AFP on Friday, without giving details.

Local residents told AFP the blast hit a Shia mosque during Friday prayers, the most important of the week.

Graphic footage shared on social media shows several bloodied bodies lying on the ground amid debris after the explosion. Local media quotes eyewitnesses as saying at least 50 people appear to be killed or wounded after.

Another video showed men shepherding people, including women and children, away from the scene.

An employee of an international aid group was among the injured, a source said.

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