Islamic State claims responsibility after 47 killed in Afghan mosque attack

Deadly suicide bombing in Kandahar also wounded scores of Shia Muslims

Ambulance transports injured victims to emergency hospital after suicide bomb blasts at Shia mosque in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Photograph: EPA

Ambulance transports injured victims to emergency hospital after suicide bomb blasts at Shia mosque in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Photograph: EPA

 

The so-called Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a deadly suicide bombing on a Shia mosque in southern Afghanistan that killed 47 people and wounded scores more.

In a statement posted on social media, Islamic State said two of the group’s members shot and killed security guards manning the entrance of the Fatimiya mosque in Kandahar province.

One detonated his explosives at the entrance of the mosque and the other inside.

Islamic State’s news agency Amaq in a statement gave the names of the attackers as Anas al-Khurasani and Abu Ali al-Baluchi, both Afghan nationals.

The attack came a week after a bombing claimed by the local Islamic State affiliate killed 46 people at a Shia mosque in northern Afghanistan, raising fears that IS — an enemy of both the Taliban and the West — is expanding its foothold in Afghanistan.

Friday’s attack was the deadliest to strike Afghanistan since the dramatic US exit from the country, which allowed the Taliban to seize control of the Afghan capital.

It was also the first major attack by the group in the country’s south.

Islamic State carries out frequent attacks in its eastern stronghold but recently has shown signs of expansion, with attacks in the north and Kabul.

The attacks have brought into question the Taliban’s ability to counter the growing Islamic State threat.

The Taliban have pledged to restore peace and security after decades of war and have also given the US assurances that they will not allow the country to be used as a base for launching extremist attacks on other countries. – AP