KABUL: A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a Shia mosque in Kabul on Friday, police said, as Muslims prepare to celebrate one of the holiest dates in the Islamic calendar.
“A suicide bomber who was grazing sheep has detonated himself outside” the mosque, General Salim Almas, criminal investigative director of Kabul city, told AFP. Almas did not have any information about casualties but a photo posted on Twitter purportedly taken at the scene of the attack shows a man lying on the ground, covered in blood.
The explosion happened as worshippers were leaving a Shia mosque in the north of the city after Friday prayers. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Taliban and Islamic State militants, who belong to the rival Sunni branch of Islam, have repeatedly targeted the minority Shia community in recent years. There had been fears they would strike again as Shia prepare to commemorate Ashura which falls this weekend and is the most important Shia observance.
It falls on the 10th day of Muharram, which is the mourning period for the seventh-century killing of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh). The faithful gather to beat their chests and hit their backs with chains until they bleed in commemoration of Hussein’s death. But in recent years the sacred day has been marred by deadly violence.
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