At least 16 people lost their lives and 32 others were injured in a blast that targeted a mosque in Kandahar city, capital of southern Afghanistan's Kandahar province on Friday.
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- A bomb blast inside a mosque in Kandahar city, capital of southern Kandahar province, on Friday, has caused concern among war-weary Afghans who are praying for the return of lasting peace in their war-torn country.
In the explosion, which targeted Imam Barga Fatimia, a Shiite mosque in Kandahar city, 16 worshippers were killed and 32 others injured, local media reports said.
However, locals said that the number of casualties is higher than reported.
Interior Ministry spokesman Qari Sayed Khosti has confirmed the blast but didn't provide more details.
This is the second attack against a Shiite mosque in Afghanistan over the past one week.
In the previous attack, which happened in the northern Kunduz city last Friday and the hardliner Islamic State group claimed responsibility for, reportedly killed more than 50 worshippers and injured scores of others.
Some eyewitnesses, according to local media, believed that one attacker blew himself up next to the gate of Imam Barga Fatimia and thus facilitated two more suicide-attackers to enter the mosque and detonated themselves, inflicting the casualties.
Imam Barga Fatimia with a capacity of 4,000 worshippers is among the biggest mosques in Kandahar, and the casualties could be higher as hundreds of people gathered there to offer their Friday prayers, according to unnamed eyewitnesses.
"Terrorist attack on a mosque which is the safest place in Islam indicates that the war is not finished in Afghanistan and more attacks would happen in the future to claim more lives," observed an eyewitness but refused to be named.
Although no group has claimed responsibility, some locals did not rule out the involvement of Daesh or the hardliner Islamic State group in the deadly attack on the mosque.
"The activities of the Islamic State group in Afghanistan speak of the presence of militant groups in the country that want to continue the war," university professor Hekmatullah Mirzada told local media.
However, Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the new Afghan government in Kabul, has downplayed the presence of the hardliner group, saying "Daesh is not a serious threat and the Islamic Emirate can control it."