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Suicide Blast at Afghanistan Mosque Kills At Least 26 Gathered to Pray

At least 22 were wounded in the blast in the eastern province of Khost, which follows a wave of deadly attacks across Afghanistan in recent weeks.

AFP

Updated:November 23, 2018, 7:22 PM IST
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Suicide Blast at Afghanistan Mosque Kills At Least 26 Gathered to Pray
Image for representation. (File photo/AP)
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Khost: A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a packed mosque on an Afghan army base during Friday prayers, killing at least nine soldiers, officials said, in the latest bloody violence to rock the war-torn country.

At least 22 were wounded in the blast in the eastern province of Khost, which follows a wave of deadly attacks across Afghanistan in recent weeks as militants step up assaults amid a flurry of diplomatic efforts to end the 17-year conflict.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the Islamic State group has previously claimed most suicide attacks on mosques.

A spokesman for the First Brigade of the 203 Army Corps in Ismail Khel Mandozai district, where the mosque was located, said nine soldiers had been killed and 22 wounded. But provincial governor Hukum Khan Habibi put the death toll at 12 with 33 wounded.

He said the attacker detonated his explosives after prayers started, but "we don't know he got inside the mosque".

Provincial public health director Gul Ahmad Shah said three bodies and 44 wounded had been taken to the Khost city hospital.  Four military helicopters also had been dispatched to bring some of the wounded to Kabul, defence ministry spokesman Ghafoor Ahmad Jawed told AFP. He could not provide a casualty figure.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack as "un-Islamic" and "inhumane".

A soldier, who was injured in the blast, said hundreds of worshippers were inside the mosque at the time of the attack.  "When the explosion happened my leg and hand started bleeding," Mufti, who like many Afghans uses only one name, told AFP from his hospital bed in Khost city. "I don't know how I got to the hospital."
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