Explosion at Afghan mosque kills dozens | News | DW | 18.10.2019
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Explosion at Afghan mosque kills dozens

The attack on the mosque killed worshippers attending Friday prayers. More than 250 people were inside the mosque during the attack.

An explosion ripped through a crowded mosque in eastern Afghanistan during Friday prayers, killing at least 62 people, provincial officials said.

Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar, said the militant attack wounded at least 36 others at the mosque in the Jawdara area of Haska Mena district.

He said it was not clear whether the attack involved a suicide bomber or another type of bombing. There were conflicting reports about whether more than one bomb exploded. 

As many as 250 people were inside the mosque when the blast tore through the structure and caused the roof to collapse.

Sohrab Qaderi, a member of the provincial council in Nangarhar, said that the death toll was likely to rise.

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It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack on the Sunni mosque. Both the "Islamic State" (IS) group and the Taliban are active in Nangarhar province, which shares a border with Pakistan in the east. 

Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, blamed the Taliban for the bombing.

"The Taliban and their partners' heinous crimes continue to target civilians in time of worship," he wrote on Twitter. 

The Taliban, a rival of IS, denied any involvement and condemned the bombing as a "major crime."

The attack comes a day after a United Nations report said 2,563 civilians had been killed and another 5,676 injured in the first nine months of this year. The report said anti-government elements were responsible for 60% of casualties during the period. 

Women and children accounted for 41% of all civilian casualties, the UN said. 

Efforts to restart peace talks to end 18 years of conflict were revived earlier this month, just weeks after US President Donald Trump had called them "dead." 

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cw/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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