At least five civilians were killed in a bomb blast at the entrance of a mosque in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Sunday, a Taliban Interior Ministry spokesman said.
Qari Saeed Khosti confirmed the deaths. Initial reports indicate the explosion was caused by a roadside bomb. Three suspects have been arrested, Bilal Karimi, Taliban official spokesman said. He added the investigation was ongoing.
Mohammad Israil, a Kabul resident, said he heard the blast: “I heard a loud sound. All the people were running away."
The explosion took place outside a mosque in the Afghan capital killed "a number of civilians", AFP quoted a senior Taliban official saying. The blast struck near the entrance of the Eid Gah Mosque in Kabul, according to spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid.
The bomb targeted the sprawling Eidgah Mosque in Kabul, where a memorial service was being held for the mother of Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, who later tweeted the attack had claimed civilian lives. Emergency NGO, an Italian-funded hospital in Kabul, tweeted it had received four people wounded in the blast.
The area around the mosque was cordoned off by the Taliban who maintained a heavy security presence.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. However, since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August, attacks by Islamic State group militants against them have increased. The rise has raised the possibility of a wider conflict between the two extremist groups.
IS maintains a strong presence in the eastern province of Nangarhar and considers the Taliban an enemy. It has claimed several attacks against them, including several killings in the provincial capital of Jalalabad.
Attacks in Kabul have so far been rare, but in recent weeks IS has shown signs it is expanding its footprint beyond the east and closer toward the capital. On Friday, Taliban fighters raided an IS hideout just north of Kabul in Parwan province. The raid came after an IS roadside bomb wounded four Taliban fighters in the area.
(with inputs from AP)