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Afghanistan: Islamic State claims responsibility for suicide attack in Herat

Afghanistan: The Islamic State group on Wednesday claimed responsibility for a suicide attack against a Shiite mosque in Afghanistan on Tuesday that left dozens dead.

Civilians and security forces inside the mosque after the suicide attack. AP

Civilians and security forces inside the mosque after the suicide attack. AP

"Around 50 Shiites killed and 80 wounded in an attack by Islamic State fighters on Tuesday on a mosque in western Afghanistan's Herat," the group's propaganda outlet Amaq said.

Afghan authorities said earlier that 30 worshippers, including young children were killed and 64 wounded when suicide bombers throwing grenades stormed the Jawadya mosque in the western city near the Iranian border late Tuesday.

Herat police spokesman Abdul Ahad Walizada said the assault happened around 8 pm when "a terrorist attack was carried out on a (Shiite) mosque in the third security district of Herat city".

"Based on our initial information two terrorists were involved, one of them wearing a suicide vest who detonated himself while the second one was armed with a rifle. They are both dead," he added.

A reporter for AFP said he had seen a number of bodies brought out of the mosque, leading to fears of a heavy death toll. He reported seeing a body torn to pieces at the entrance, possibly that of the attacker, while others were lying in pools of blood inside, some still crying and moving.

Photos posted on social media showed large crowds had gathered at the hospital.

The attack comes a day after an assault on the Iraqi embassy in Kabul, which was claimed by the Islamic State, killed two people. Islamic State has been expanding its footprint in eastern Afghanistan and has recently claimed responsibility for several devastating attacks in the capital. But experts have previously questioned whether there are direct links between the group's local affiliate Islamic State Khorasan Province and the central Islamic State command.

On Monday a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the embassy, allowing at least three other militants to breach the compound, unleashing an hours-long gun battle that killed two people.

Updated Date: Aug 02, 2017 19:57 PM

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