Nearly 50 die as suicide bomber targets Islamic gathering in Kabul: Official

The Afghan president called the act ‘unforgivable’ as the Taliban distanced themselves from the attack. (Reuters)
Updated 20 November 2018
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Nearly 50 die as suicide bomber targets Islamic gathering in Kabul: Official

  • The suicide bomber was able to sneak into a wedding hall in Kabul where hundreds of religious scholars and clerics had gathered
  • No one immediately claimed the attack, but both the Taliban and a local Daesh affiliate have targeted religious scholars before

KABUL: Some 50 Islamic religious figures were killed on Tuesday in the Afghan capital in a suicide attack at a religious function, summoned for marking the birth of Islam’s prophet Mohammad (PBUH), officials said.

The interior ministry spokesman, Najib Danesh, told Arab News that nearly 70 other participants were wounded in the incident which happed inside the hall of a large hotel where the function was going on after evening’s prayers.

“It was summoned by the Ulema council and scholars from many parts of the country had gathered in it to recite Koran and mark Milad Sharif,” he said.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack, calling it as unforgivable act. He ordered Wedneday as national mourning day when Afghanistan’s flag will be at half mast.

Over 20 of the scores wounded in the attack were in critical condition, public health ministry officials said.

The Taliban, the main insurgent group, which relies on suicide attacks against government and foreign military and civilian targets, distanced themselves from the attack and condemned it as a crime. 

The function of was held by Sunni sect of Islam’s followers, residents said.

Sirens of ambulances could be heard in several parts of the city. Images on social media showed part of the badly damaged hall of the hotel with body parts strewn in various directions.

No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. But affiliates of the Islamic State, have repeatedly targeted mosques and worshipping sites of Shiites in recent years in Afghanistan.

The network Shiites as deviants and Tuesday’s attack is the first of its kind against a Sunni religious gathering in Afghanistan.

Hundreds of people had participated in the gathering and there were fears of rise of casualties.


Thousands attend funeral of 'youngest' rebel killed in Kashmir

Updated 59 min 58 sec ago
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Thousands attend funeral of 'youngest' rebel killed in Kashmir

  • Mudasir Ahmad Parrey was killed alongside two other militants
  • A funeral procession Monday for the slain teenagers turned violent as mourners clashed with police

SRINAGAR, India: Thousands of mourners thronged the funeral on Monday of a 14-year-old rebel shot dead by Indian troops in Kashmir, the youngest-ever fighter killed in the decades-long insurgency, police said.
Mudasir Ahmad Parrey was killed alongside two other militants, one a 17-year-old, outside the city of Srinagar on Sunday.
Parrey, a ninth-grade student, went missing in August before emerging in a photograph on social media brandishing an automatic assault rifle and military knife.
The young militants' deaths sparked angry protests in the restive Himalayan region administered by India but also claimed in full by Pakistan.
A funeral procession Monday for the slain teenagers turned violent as mourners clashed with police, who used tear gas to drive them back.
Rebels fighting for Kashmiri independence or a merger with Pakistan have been warring with Indian troops in the disputed territory since the late 1980s.
The violence has left tens of thousands dead, mostly civilians.
But this year has been the deadliest in a decade in Kashmir, with rights monitors saying more than 500 people have been killed from armed conflict.
Many young men die fighting Indian troops but Parrey's death shocked even a region weary from years of bloodshed.
At 14, police said he was the youngest known fighter to have died in the insurgency.
He was killed in an 18-hour siege by Indian troops in Hajin, outside Srinagar. The home Parrey and the two other militants were holed up in was blasted to rubble.
"He had never failed in school exams," mourned his father, Rashid. The teenager also sometimes worked as a labourer to help out with family expenses, he added.
Many Kashmiris sympathise with the rebels fighting half a million Indian troops stationed in the heavily-militarised Muslim-majority region.
Civilians often pelt soldiers with stones while they are conducting search operations for militants, and funerals for slain fighters draw thousands of mourners and see shops closed.
New Delhi has long accused Islamabad of stoking anti-India sentiment in the region and funding militant groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba fighting in Kashmir.
Police believe the teenagers killed in Sunday's fighting joined the militant group around August. The third dead fighter is a Pakistani national, police say.
Pakistan says it only provides diplomatic support to the Kashmiri struggle for right to self-determination.