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Death Toll Rises From Afghan Mosque Bombings

Afghan security officials secure the roads leading to the scene of suicide bomb blasts in Gardez, the provincial capital of southwestern Paktia Province on August 3.

The death toll from twin suicide blasts at a Shi'ite mosque in southeastern Afghanistan has climbed to at least 35.

Raz Mohammad Mandozai, the police chief of Paktia Province, said two suicide bombers detonated explosives inside the Khawaja Hassan mosque in the provincial capital of Gardez on August 3.

Mandozai said the suicide bombers, who he said were disguised in burqas, first killed two security guards at the entrance before firing on worshippers and detonating their explosives.

Paktia governor Shamim Khan Katawazi said on August 4 that the death toll had jumped to 35 with 94 wounded. A day earlier, officials said 29 had been killed.

The death toll could rise because up to 20 people are in critical condition, said officials.

Hundreds of mourners on August 4 buried the victims of the attack.

There was no claim of responsibility, although similar attacks in the past have been claimed by the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, which has a presence in eastern Afghanistan.

The Sunni extremist group has frequently targeted Afghanistan’s Shi'ite minority, which IS calls "apostates."

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters