Suicide bomber kills 41 in Afghan mosque: official
A suicide bomber killed at least 41 people, including five children, when he struck at a mosque in northern Afghanistan after Eid al-Adha prayers today, officials said.
Dozens more were wounded as the bomb ripped through the crowd of worshippers in Maymana city in Faryab province and there were fears the death toll could rise.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suicide bombings are a favourite weapon of Taliban Islamists trying to topple the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.
The attacker was wearing a police uniform when he blew himself up at the entrance to the city's packed Eid Gah mosque, said deputy provincial governor Abdul Satar Barez.
"Our latest death toll shows 41 deaths, and that might rise," he said.
"Nineteen were members of the security forces, including police, army and intelligence agents. Seventeen were civilians and five children are also among the dead."
Barez, like many other provincial officials, was at the scene at the time of the bombing and described the horror of the blast in the midst of a religious celebration.
"We had just finished Eid al-Adha prayers and we were congratulating and hugging each other," Barez said.
"Suddenly a big explosion took place and the area was full of dust and smoke and body parts of police and civilians were all over the place. It was a very powerful explosion."
One eyewitness, Sayed Moqeed, described the bomber as appearing to be in his early teens.
"Suddenly I heard a very big explosion," he said.
"Everywhere were pieces of bodies, hands and limbs. The suicide attacker was in police uniform, he looked to be around 14 or 15 years old."
Karzai strongly condemned the attack, calling the perpetrators "the enemies of Islam and humanity".
"Those who take the happiness of Muslims during Eid days cannot be called human and Muslim," he said.
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