At least 100 people were killed or injured after an explosion at a Shiite Muslim mosque in Kunduz, Afghanistan, a Taliban official said, The Associated Press reported on Friday.
The Islamic State group’s Afghanistan affiliate has claimed responsibility for the attack, asserting the group was targeting Shiites, according to the AP.
A suicide bomber embedded with worshipers likely committed the attack, Kunduz Province Deputy Police Chief Dost Mohammad Obaida said.
He pledged to shield the Muslim minority moving forward. “I assure our Shiite brothers that the Taliban are prepared to ensure their safety,” Obaida said, according to the AP.
The explosion occurred during a regular Friday noon prayer service, a time when mosques are usually busy because the prayer service is a major event in the Muslim religious week, according to the AP.
Photos and videos from the mosque showed stairs covered in blood and people carrying a body wrapped in a blanket to an ambulance.
Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi told the AP that 46 people were killed and 143 wounded in the explosion. An investigation is reportedly underway.
Recently, Islamic State militants have increasingly targeted Taliban leadership and religious minorities in Afghanistan.
If the death and injury toll of at least 100 is confirmed, this will be the highest casualty incident since U.S. forces withdrew from the country and the Taliban took power, the AP reported.
The Islamic State has reportedly targeted the Taliban in various attacks including a bombing at a mosque in Kabul and several shootings.
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