The horrific moment suicide bombers at Afghan shrine killed 59 people celebrating religious festival
- Blasts at two mosques form deadliest single attack in Kabul in three years
- Women and children among victims in Kabul old town after suicide bomber detonates device at river-side mosque
- Bicycle bomb detonated in northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif shortly afterwards
- Attacks comes a day after international conference on future of Afghanistan held in Bonn
Last updated at 11:29 PM on 6th December 2011
At least 59 people have been killed in rare sectarian bombings on civilians in Afghanistan.
The two blasts, targeted at Shiite worshippers, occurred during a festival known as Ashoura, and were the first major sectarian attacks for a decade.
In the more deadly of the two, a suicide bomber struck in the middle of a crowd outside a mosque in the capital Kabul.
Split-second: People rush to help those caught in the blast seconds after the bomb exploded at a Shi'ite shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan
Carnage: Bodies lie strewn across the ground after the powerful explosive went off this morning
The group had gathered at the Abul Fazl shrine to commemorate the seventh century death of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson.
The bomber detonated his explosives near one of the gates to the shrine, killing 55, including two women and four children.More than 160 people were wounded.
It was the deadliest attack since a suicide bomber killed 60 people near the Indian embassy in the city in 2008.
At roughly the same time, 185 miles away in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, four people were killed when a bomb strapped to a bicycle exploded as a convoy of Shiites drove down a road.
Grief: Men weep after a suicide bomber detonated their device inside a packed Abulfazel Shrine in Kabul yesterday, killing 59 people
Deadly: Afghan men shout as they help to move the bodies of victims. Women and children were among those killed in the blast
No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which have been condemned by the Taliban. Suspicion centered on militant groups based in Pakistan where Sunni attacks on minority Shiites are common.
A man claiming to be from Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Pakistan-based militant group that has carried out attacks against Shiites, called media outlets to claim responsibility for the Kabul bombing but his claim has not been confirmed.
Witness Mahood Khan, who is in charge of the Abul Fazl shrine, said: ‘It was a very powerful blast. It was out of control. Everyone was crying, shouting. It is a disaster.’
Rescued: A man carries a wounded boy past the bodies of those killed in the blast
Wounded: A man covered in blood is lifted out of the back of an ambulance in Kabul
High alert: Police officers stand guard at the scene of the attack in the Afghanistan capital. Shi'ite Muslims are celebrating the Ashura festival and the mosque was packed
Mourning: A police officer moves to stop an Afghan woman as she tries to find her loved ones after the blast
Guard: Police tape blocks off the bomb site in Kabul. There was also a second blast in Mazar-i-Sharif, which killed four people
Among the victims the body of a woman, clutching a dead child in each arm, was sprawled along a dirt road littered with shoes and bloodstained clothing, while survivors with blood-smeared faces screamed for help.
Religiously motivated attacks on minority Shiite Muslims, who make up about 20 per cent of the country’s 30 million people, are rare in Afghanistan.
The country’s Ministry of Interior blamed the Taliban and ‘terrorists’ for the blasts.
President Hamid Karzai said the Kabul attack was unprecedented.
He said it was ‘the first time that on such an important religious day in Afghanistan terrorism of that horrible nature is taking place.
Anguish: An Afghan man is comforted by relatives outside a hospital after the suicide bomber struck this morning
Secular: A man with a head injury after the explosive went off. The bomber detonated his device as people stood queuing to get into the shrine
Rescue: A man carries an injured victim from the bomb blast at a shrine on the river in Kabul
Future: Afghan President Hamid Karzai stands with international foreign ministers and leaders including Baroness Ashton, Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel at a conference on the future of his country in Bonn, Germany
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2070533/Afghanistan-attacks-Children-30-dead-bomb-blasts-2-mosques.html#ixzz1gASc5gBS