Four victims and three perpetrators are dead, following an explosion at a busy public prayer at a Shia mosque in the Afghan capital, says the interior ministry. IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has taken responsibility.
Multiple attackers attempted to penetrate the Al Zahra mosque on the western side of Kabul at the sunset service, which marks the end of the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan.
suicide Attack on Al-Zahra mosque n Kabul.6 killed and 12 injured.
Taliban denied involvement in suicide attack on mosque. pic.twitter.com/uSuz5nOdVU
— Anees Ur Rehman (@JournalistAnees) 15 June 2017
According to a Facebook statement by Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish, the assailants were stopped before reaching the main hall, and instead at least one detonated their payload in the kitchen.
Local media said that, following the blast, gunshots were heard. Najib said that there were three attackers, a suicide bomber, and two gunmen, all of whom were killed.
“I thank and praise our security forces for their bravery and courage they showcased to destroy enemies and save our citizens. Bravo!” tweeted Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of Afghanistan, the country’s second most senior official.
Islamic State, a Sunni offshoot, said through its news agency that it orchestrated the attack on the Shia target.
A spokesman for the Taliban rebels, who control large parts of the country, earlier told local media that the group was not behind the bombing, and does not target religious ceremonies and buildings.
This is the third major attack on a Shia Kabul mosque by Islamic State since October 2016, with 14 and 30 killed in previous such assaults. The group has emerged as a rival for Taliban in recent years, and on Thursday news came that ISIS fighters captured the caves of Tora Bora in the east of the country, which became notorious as Osama bin Laden’s hiding place, from the Taliban, which contests the claim.