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Several worshippers killed in explosion at Shiite mosque in Kabul

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By AP  with Euronews
An ambulance carrying wounded people leaves the site of an explosion in Kabul.
An ambulance carrying wounded people leaves the site of an explosion in Kabul.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi

At least 10 people have been killed after a powerful explosion ripped through a mosque in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

A Taliban spokesman said that more than 20 others were wounded in the blast at the Khalifa Aga Gul Jan Mosque. There are fears that the death toll could rise to at least 50 people.

Hundreds of worshippers had gathered in the packed mosque for prayers on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to local residents.

The source of the explosion was not immediately known and no one has claimed responsibility for the blast.

The incident occurred in an eastern neighbourhood of Kabul, which belongs to Afghanistan’s majority Sunni Muslims.

The explosion was the latest in a series of such blasts amid relentless attacks across the country.

Similar attacks on mosques have recently targeted the country’s minority Shiite Muslims and were claimed by an affiliate of the so-called Islamic State (IS) group in Khorasan Province, known as ISIS-K.

IS has stepped up its attacks across Afghanistan to become the primary enemy of the Taliban since their takeover of the country last August.

Last week, 33 Shiite worshippers died in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, when a bomb struck their mosque and an adjacent religious school. IS has claimed responsibility for that attack.

The extremist group has also claimed responsibility for two bombings in the country’s north that targeted the Afghan minority Hazara ethnic on Thursday. The car bombings in Mazar-e-Sharif killed at least nine people and wounded 13 others, according to local Taliban officials.