A suicide bomb attack has killed 25 people and injured at least 40 others after two explosions ripped through a mosque in Gardez, a town in eastern Afghanistan on Friday.
The bomb attack took place in a Shi’ite mosque during Friday prayers, police and health officials said. The incident occurred at around 1:30pm local time when people were offering Friday prayers inside Imam-i-Zaman Mosque in Police District II of the city, which is the capital of eastern Paktia province, a police officer who declined to be named told Xinhua.
“The preliminary information and initial findings of our police showed that two back to back blasts struck inside the building when people were inside the mosque. So far, we have no more details but the number of casualties may change as the victims were shifted to
different hospitals across the city,” the police officer said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but police said at least two men had entered the mosque in the city of Gardez in the province of Paktia where about 60 people were praying.
One witness told Reuters that Shi’ite Muslims, a minority in Sunni-majority Afghanistan, were praying when one man detonated his explosives. A second attacker is reported to have opened fire as worshippers gathered.
“Emergency teams have collected 25 bodies from the mosque premises and 40 people have been rushed to hospital,” said Abdullah Hazrat, a senior government official who was at the blast site.
Security forces have cordoned off the area for precautionary measures in Khowja Hassan neighbourhood mostly dominated by Shiite Afghans.
Media and people were not allowed to enter the site and no one knows what exactly is ongoing inside the building.