At least 16 die as blasts rock Afghanistan cities

At least 16 die as blasts rock Afghanistan cities
Representational PhotoFile/ GK

Kabul: At least 16 people were killed by bomb blasts in two Afghan cities Thursday -- including 12 at a Shiite mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.

The number of bombings in Afghanistan has dwindled since the Taliban returned to power in August, but the jihadist and Sunni IS group has claimed several since then -- often against Shiite targets.

Grisly images of victims being carried to hospital from SehDokan mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif were posted on social media.

“Blood and fear are everywhere,” Ahmad Zia Zindani, spokesman for the Balkh provincial public health department, told AFP, adding “people were screaming” while seeking news of their relatives at the hospital.

He said 12 people were killed in the blast and 58 wounded -- including 32 in serious condition.

“Relatives of victims were arriving at city hospitals looking for their near and dear ones. Many residents were also coming to donate blood,” Zindani said.

In Kunduz, at least four people were killed and 18 wounded by a blast police spokesman ObaidullahAbedi told AFP was caused by a bicycle bomb targeting a vehicle carrying mechanics working for the Taliban.

Afghanistan’s Shiite Hazara community, which makes up between 10 and 20 percent of the country’s 38 million people, has long been the target of the IS, who consider them heretics.

“The soldiers of the caliphate managed to get a booby-trapped bag” inside the mosque, detonating it from afar after it was packed with worshippers, IS said in a statement. AFP

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