Blast in Afghan mosque, officials report dead and wounded


HERAT, Afghanistan (AP) — An explosion went off Friday in a mosque in the western Afghan city of Herat, a…

HERAT, Afghanistan (AP) — An explosion went off Friday in a mosque in the western Afghan city of Herat, a Taliban official said. He reported dead and wounded, but could not give detailed casualty figures.

The blast went off in the Guzargah Mosque in Herat during Friday noon prayers, the highlight of the Muslim religious week when places of worship are particularly crowded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Previous mosque attacks have been claimed by the Islamic State extremist group, which has carried out a series of attacks against religious and ethnic minorities in Afghanistan, as well as Taliban targets.

The Herat mosque draws followers of Sunni Islam, the dominant stream in Afghanistan that is also followed by the Taliban.

In the year since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the Islamic State group attacked several mosques in suicide attacks during Friday prayers, with a focus on targeting Shiite Muslims. Islamic State followers are also Sunnis and consider Shiites to be infidels.

The Taliban official, Abdul Nafi Takor, confirmed Friday’s explosion and said there were dead and wounded, but had no further details. Takor is a spokesman of the interior ministry in Afghanistan’s Taliban government.

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