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27 killed in Afghanistan mosque blast
Kabul: A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a mosque in Kandahar in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing at least 27 people, an intelligence official told AFP.
The death toll is expected to rise after the blast, which occurred as prayers were being offered for an Islamic cleric, who was shot dead by suspected Taliban militants last weekend, the official said.
"A suicide bomber detonated a bomb inside the crowd at the mosque. Twenty-seven bodies were evacuated from the mosque," the official said. Afghanistan remains wracked by violence three-and-a-half years after the fall of the hardline Islamic Taliban regime.
A bomb explosion in a mosque killed about 20 persons in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar on Wednesday morning.
Those killed include a police chief of Kabul who were attending a mourning ceremony for the killed Muslim leader, a local radio reported.
The ceremony was held in a mosque at about 9:00 a.m. (local time) Wednesday to show condolence for Monday's killing of Muslim leader Mawlavi Abdullah Fayaz in Kandahar.
About 20 persons were killed and more than 30 injured in the explosion, Radio Liberty reported.
The police chief of Kabul attending the ceremony in Kandahar has also been killed in the explosion, when the suicide attacker exploded the bomb beside him.
But a local witness Ahmad Shah told Xinhua the number of the dead was above 50.
As the chairman of Islamic Scholar Council, Fayaz is famous for his strong attitude against Taliban, frequently delivering speeches in the mosque about getting rid of Taliban from Afghanistan.
Ousted from power in 2001, Taliban has staged another surge of attacks against civilian and military targets in Afghanistan as the weather gets warmer here. More than 30 Afghan and US troops, aid workers as well as the militants have been killed in the troubled southern provinces over the past two weeks.
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - An Afghan police chief was among at least 14 people killed in a suicide bomb blast at a mosque on Wednesday as mourners gathered to pay respects to an assassinated anti-Taliban cleric.
Kabul police chief Akram Khakreezwal was among the mourners at the mosque in the southern city of Kandahar.
"I saw bodies scattered, blood all over the place. Dead policemen were also lying there," shop owner Kalimullah told Reuters by telephone.
The suicide bomber was in police uniform, several survivors said.
Police and security officials said the blast was caused by a suicide bomber. At least 14 people were killed, including Khakreezwal, and 32 wounded.
Mourners had gathered for Mawlavi Abdullah Fayaz who was killed on Sunday by two armed men riding a motorcycle as he was leaving his office in the heart of Kandahar city.
Fayaz served as the head of the Islamic scholar's council, a government appointed body, and criticised reclusive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar at a recent gathering of clerics.
A Taliban spokesman said he knew nothing about the blast as none of his men had contacted him about it.
Afghanistan has not seen the sort of bloody rivalry between majority Sunni Muslims and minority Shi'ites, which in neighbouring Pakistan has resulted in numerous bomb attacks on mosques.