Suicide attack on Shia mosque in Afghanistan leaves at least 29 dead

At least 29 people have been killed in an explosion in a Shia mosque in the western Afghan city of Herat, police have said.

The attack took place in the middle of evening prayers when the mosque was packed with about 300 worshippers.

A further 64 people were reportedly wounded during the attack at the Jawadia Mosque, with local authorities saying the death toll is expected to rise.

Abdulhai Balizada, a local police spokesman, said there appeared to be more than one attacker, with a suicide bomber detonating explosives and another attacker through grenades at worshippers.

At Herat Main Hospital, Dr Mohammed Rafique Shehrzai said as many as 20 bodies were brought to the hospital, but Mehdi Hadid, a lawmaker who went to the site soon after explosion, said there could be ‘at least 100 dead’.

The attacker is thought to have first fired on the private guards outside the mosque, and then, when entering, fired on the praying worshippers until his rifle jammed and he blew himself up.

Shia Muslims are a minority in Afghanistan and have been threatened by the so-called Isis, which operates in the country’s east. But there has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

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