Dec 06 2011

Al Jazeera English: Shias targeted in deadly Afghan shrine blasts

Two bomb blasts apparently targeting Shia Muslim shrines as hundreds of people gathered to mark the day of Ashoura have killed at least 60 people and injured scores more, according to Afghan police and media reports.

At least 56 people were killed by a suicide bomber who detonated explosives at the gate of the Abu-Ul Fazil shrine in the capital Kabul on Tuesday, many of them children, the AFP news agency reported.

Al Jazeera’s Jennifer Glasse, reporting from the blast site in Kabul, said police had confirmed the death toll. The ministry off health said that more than 100 people had also been injured.

Ambulances rushed to the scene to take the wounded to hospital while some berated police for allowing the attack to occur on a major religious holiday, our correspondent said.

‘Huge explosion’

“I was there watching people mourning when there was suddenly a huge explosion,” witness Ahmad Fawad said.

“Some people around me fell down injurefd. I wasn’t hurt, so I got up and started running. It was horrible,” he said.

In a separate attack, a bicycle bomb near a mosque in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif killed four worshippers, a district police chief said.

The Taliban condemned the bomb attacks in Kabul and the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif as the brutal work of “enemies”, a spokesperson for the armed group said.

“Very sadly we heard that there were explosions in Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif, where people were killed by the enemy’s un-Islamic and inhuman activity,” Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement published on their website.

Kabul has been targeted by a series of bold attacks in recent months; include assaults on the US embassy, a major hotel and the offices of the British Council.

The blasts occurred as Shias gathered to carry out religious rituals to mark one of the most significant days in their calendar.

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