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Deadly Bombing Targets Shi'ite Mourners In Northern Afghanistan


Ashura being celebrated at the Sakhi shrine in Balkh Province on October 12.

At least 14 people have been killed in a bomb attack on a mosque in northern Afghanistan, the second assault within the last 24 hours during the Shi'ite festival of Ashura.

Afghan officials said the bomb blast, which also wounded at least 30 people, targeted Shi'ite mourners in the northern province of Balkh.

The bomb was planted outside the mosque in the Khoja Gholak area of Balkh Province and detonated remotely, a provincial spokesman told RFE/RL.

Local health officials said most of the wounded were children. Some of the injured were in critical condition, doctors said.

It came just a day after the Islamic State (IS) extremist group claimed responsibility for an attack on a shrine in the capital, Kabul, that killed 18 people and left dozens wounded.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack on October 12.

Shi'ite mourners had gathered at the mosque to celebrate the festival of Ashura, one of the holiest on the Shi'ite calendar.

The mourning for the festival reaches its peak on October 12.

Afghan police had warned Shi'a -- mostly ethnic Hazara -- against large gatherings, as attacks were expected.

With reporting by AP and AFP
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