An explosion at a Shia mosque in Kandahar, Afghanistan during Friday prayers has left at least 33 people dead and 73 injured, according to officials, with victims being transported to hospital in ambulances and cars.
The explosion hit the Bibi Fatima mosque while Shia worshippers were gathering for packed Friday prayers, with an estimated 500 people in attendance.
Two bombs were detonated at the security gate, while two other suicide bombers ran into the mosque, setting off explosions among the congregation.
The Taliban’s interior minister, Sayed Khosti, confirmed the attack had “martyred and wounded” a number of “compatriots,” stating that special forces arrived on scene shortly after to “determine the nature of the incident.”
Smoke could be seen billowing from the area where the mosque is located, in the center of the city, in the aftermath of the blast. Distressing videos showed bodies, covered by blankets, as they were surrounded by worshippers who attempted to help them in the wake of the explosion.
While official have stated that it was a suicide bombing, no group has admitted responsibility yet. It is the second suicide bombing in Afghanistan in recent weeks, with IS-K having taken responsibility for an explosion in Kunduz last week.
Kandahar has been under the Taliban’s control since August 13, as the militant group swiftly gained territory across Afghanistan ahead of their ousting of the country’s government.