Kunduz, Afghanistan: 33 people were killed and 43 others injured in an explosion during Friday prayers in northern Afghanistan, a Taliban spokesman said, just a day after the Islamic State group claimed two separate deadly attacks.
The number of bombings has dropped since Taliban militants took control of Afghanistan last year after toppling the U.S.-backed government, but jihadists and Sunni IS continue to attack targets they see as heretics.
An explosion at a mosque in the northern province of Kunduz killed 33 children, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter.
“We condemn this crime… and express our deepest sympathies to the bereaved,” he said.
Images posted to social media which could not be immediately verified showed holes blown through the walls of the Mawlavi Sikandar mosque, popular with Sufis, north of Kunduz city.
Jihadist groups such as IS bear a deep hatred for Sufis who they view as heretics and accuse them of polytheism — the greatest sin in Islam — for seeking the intercession of dead saints.
“The sight at the mosque was horrifying. All those who were worshipping inside the mosque were either injured or killed,” said Mohammad Esah, who owns a shop near the mosque.
Between 30 and 40 people were injured in the blast, a nurse at a nearby regional hospital told AFP by phone.