Death toll in Kabul Shiite mosque attack jumps to 56: officials

An armed Afghan civilian looks inside the Imam Zaman Shiite mosque which was a the site of a suicide attack during evening prayers, in Kabul on October 21, 2017

The death toll in the Shiite mosque attack in Kabul has jumped to 56, officials said Saturday, as the Afghan capital reels from the latest deadly violence.

"The toll from yesterday's Imam Zaman mosque attack has increased to 56 killed, including women and children, and 55 wounded," an interior ministry spokesman told AFP.

Officials had previously put the number of dead at 39 and 45 wounded in the attack claimed by the Islamic State group, which belongs to the rival Sunni branch of Islam.

The lone suicide attacker struck as worshippers gathered for evening prayer on Friday at the mosque in a heavily Shiite neighbourhood in the west of the city.

It was one of two deadly mosque attacks in the country on Friday, capping one of the bloodiest weeks in Afghanistan in recent memory.

The second assault happened in the impoverished and remote province of Ghor where a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing 20 and wounding 10 others, the interior ministry said.

People expressed anger at the government's inability to protect its citizens in the Afghan capital, which accounted for nearly 20 percent of the country's civilian deaths in the first half of the year.

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