Imam killed, 16 wounded in Kabul mosque blast

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KABUL —A prominent Afghan religious scholar was killed and another 16 people wounded in a blast during Friday prayers at a Kabul mosque, officials said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion, which took place at the Al-Taqwa mosque in eastern Kabul, where Mawlawi Raihan had been the imam, or prayer leader.

Friday prayers, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, are usually well attended.

"Unfortunately in the blast, Mawlawi Raihan has been martyred and 16 other worshippers were wounded," said Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the interior ministry.

The explosion took place around 1:20 p.m. (0850 GMT).

Police spokesman Firdaws Faramarz confirmed to AFP that Raihan was killed and said investigators were probing the nature of the explosion.

Local television channel Tolo said the explosion was caused by a bomb.

Raihan was relatively well known in Kabul, as he appeared frequently on religious shows broadcast on local TV.

Raihan's Facebook page showed him standing alongside members of the Afghan security forces.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast. — AFP


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