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Afghanistan: Dozens killed in bomb and gun attack on Shia mosque

At least 25 people killed and 40 wounded in attack targeting Shia worshippers in Paktia province, local officials say.

Afghanistan's urban areas

At least 25 people have been killed and dozens more wounded after two suicide bombers attacked a Shia mosque in eastern Afghanistan, local officials said.

The attackers armed with rifles entered the Khawaja Hassan mosque, in Gardez city, Paktia province, during Friday prayers, started shooting at worshippers and then blew themselves up, Sardar Wali Tabasum, provincial police chief spokesman, said.

"Emergency teams have collected 25 bodies from the mosque premises and 40 people have been rushed to hospital," said Abdullah Hazrat, a senior government official who was at the blast site.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the armed group Taliban denied any involvement. 

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack, calling it "inhumane", before adding that Afghans will not be divided by sectarian violence. 

The attack comes as urban areas across Afghanistan have been rocked by an increasing number of attacks.

At least 15 people were killed and 15 wounded after two gunmen stormed a government building in the eastern city of Jalalabad earlier this week. 

Shia Muslims have been targeted by groups affiliated to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) that has emerged as a force in recent years.

According to the UN, a total of 1,692 people have been killed in the first half of 2018, with another 3,430 people wounded - the highest figure since it began keeping records in 2009.

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