Death toll in Afghan mosque bombing rises to 33, Taliban say

A Taliban official says a bombing at a mosque and religious school in northern Afghanistan on Friday killed at least 33 people, including students of a religious school.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban's deputy culture and information minister, said the bombing in the town of Imam Saheb, in Kunduz Province, also wounded another 43 people, many of them students.

No one immediately claimed responsibility, but Afghanistan's ISIL affiliate on Friday claimed a series of bombings that happened a day earlier, the worst of which was an attack on a Shiite mosque in northern Mazar-e-Sharif that killed at least 12 Shiite Muslim worshippers and wounded scores more.

Earlier the Kunduz provincial police spokesman put the death toll at the Malawi Bashir Ahmad Mosque and madrassa compound in Imam Saheb at two dead and six injured. Mujahid later tweeted the higher casualty numbers, saying "we condemn this crime ... and express our deepest condolences to the victims."

Friday's bombing is the latest in a series of deadly attacks across Afghanistan. Mujahid called the perpetrators of the Kunduz attack "seditionists and evil elements."

The United Nations called the attack "horrific." Deputy special representative to Afghanistan Ramiz Alakbarov said in a tweet that the "killings must stop now and perpetrators brought to justice."

Since sweeping to power last August, the Taliban have been battling the upstart ISIL affiliate known as ISIL in Khorasan Province or ISIL-K which is proving to be an intractable security challenge for Afghanistan's religiously driven government.

Last October the ISIL-K claimed a brutal bombing also in northern Kunduz province at a Shiite mosque that killed at least 50 people and wounded more than 100. In...

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