KABUL — A blast ripped through a mosque packed with worshippers in the Afghan capital Kabul Wednesday night, killing at least 3 people and wounding 2 dozen others, a hospital and officials said.
The explosion occurred as people were offering evening prayers at the mosque, in a northwest district of Kabul.
The Italian non-governmental organization Emergency, which operates a hospital in Kabul, said it had received 27 victims from the blast, including three fatalities.
"Most of the patients we received following the explosion inside a mosque are suffering from shell and burn injuries," it said via email.
In a later tweet, the hospital said 5 children were among those it treated, including a 7-year-old.
Taliban government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed there were dead and wounded in the blast, but did not specify how many.
"The murderers of civilians and perpetrators... will soon be punished for their crimes," he said on Twitter.
Some local social media accounts said a senior cleric had been killed in the blast, but the reports could not be independently confirmed.
Wednesday's blast comes nearly a week after a suicide attack killed a top Taliban cleric at his madrassa in Kabul.
On Aug. 11, a suicide bomber blew himself up inside the madrassa of cleric Rahimullah Haqqani, who was killed along with his brother.
The attack was claimed by the jihadist Islamic State group (IS).
Since the Taliban seized power a year ago, there has been significant fall in violence across the country.
However, IS has regularly carried out attacks, primarily targeting minority communities like Shiites, Sufis and Sikhs.
The Taliban say they have defeated the IS, but experts claim the group remains a key security challenge for the hardline Islamists.
Last week, a senior Taliban cleric known for his fiery speeches against IS was killed at his madrassa in the Afghan capital in a suicide attack claimed by the jihadist group.
Rahimullah Haqqani had survived at least 2 previous assassination attempts -- including one in Pakistan in October 2020.
© Agence France-Presse
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