More than 50 killed in blast at mosque in eastern Afghanistan

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: May 07, 2018, 07:21 AM IST

Representative image. Photograph:(Reuters)

More than 50 people lost their lives during an explosion at a mosque on Sunday when attackers targetted a voter centre in the eastern Afghan province of Khost, also leaving over 34 people wounded. 

Basir Bina, a spokesman for the provincial police, said the explosion took place when people gathered after afternoon prayers in the mosque, which was also being used as a voter registration centre for parliamentary elections due in October.

He said the blast appeared to have been caused by explosives left in the mosque rather than by a suicide bomber.

As per reports an explosive device placed inside the Yaqoubi mosque detonated at around 2.30 pm local time on May 6 and caused casualties among civilians who had gathered both for prayers and to register to vote.

No one immediately claimed responsibility, but the extremist group Islamic State (IS) has carried out similar attacks in the past. Taliban militants have also warned people not to take part in the elections.

Habib Shah Ansari, head of the health department in Khost, a mountainous region on the border with Pakistan, said 17 were confirmed dead from the blast with 34 injured.

Sunday's blast came as fighting has spread across Afghanistan, with government officials saying that a district in the northern province of Badakhshan which was seized by Taliban fighters last week had been retaken.