Dozens of worshippers killed in mosque blast in Afghanistan

Dozens of worshippers were killed and injured in a blast that took place in a mosque in Mazar-e-Sharif in Balkh province of Afghanistan on Thursday, reported local media. Around 400 people were attending the prayers in the Si-Dukan Mosque when it was hit by a blast, reported ToloNews citing witnesses. The responsibility for the attack was claimed by Islamic State (ISIS), also known as Daesh, according to a statement on the group's Telegram channel. According to Mohammad Asif Waziri, the head of the provincial department of security, the blast was due to explosives placed inside the mosque. "I can only say that the blast was due to explosives. Unfortunately, 25 people were martyred and wounded. Around 10 people were martyred, and 15 others were wounded," the media outlet quoted him as saying. However, according to sources, 31 people were killed while 87 were injured in the blast.

"I was here when the attack happened. When they say (the number of casualties) is around 20 to 25, (they) lie. The first and second line of the prayers were severely hit and only the people in the third and fourth lines were safe," said Idris, one of the wounded. "It was a very horrific incident. The number of the victims was high," said a witness Mohamad Yasin, according to the media outlet. Another witness Sayed Ali said that Shia people had gathered to pray in the mosque and there was a high number of casualties in the blast. Notably, three separate blasts took place in Afghanistan on Thursday, one in Kabul, one in Mazar-e-Sharif, and a third in Kunduz province. The first blast occurred in the Kabul's police district 5 (PD5) and two children were slightly wounded, TOLOnews reported citing Afghanistan's Ministry of Interior. The second blast hit the mosque in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province while the third blast took place in Kunduz city of Kunduz province. According to Qari Obaidullah Abedi, a spokesman for the Kunduz police command, the blast in Kunduz killed at least four people while 18 others were injured.