Relatives grieve as they gather outside of a hospital after militants targeted Shia Muslim pilgrims inside a shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan, October 11, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
A bomb blast outside a mosque has claimed the lives of at least 14 Shia Muslims and injured nearly 30 others in Afghanistan's northern province of Balkh.
Moneer Ahmad Farhad, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said the explosion on Wednesday happened at the gate of the mosque “in the center of Balkh district” in the province.
The blast targeted mourners who had been commemorating Ashura, which marks the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him), the third Shia Imam.
It was the second attack targeting the Shia Muslim community in less than 24 hours. On Tuesday night, heavily-armed gunmen attacked worshipers at a shrine in the capital Kabul, opening fire on the people who were commemorating the ninth day of the month of Muharram.
At least 18 people were killed and 50 others were injured in the Tuesday shooting attack, which was claimed by the Takfiri Daesh terrorists.
The United Nations said the Tuesday attack was an "atrocity."
Afghan policemen stand guard at the main gate of Karte Sakhi shrine in the capital Kabul on October 12, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
On July 23, at least 84 people were killed and 130 injured in an attack on Shia Hazara demonstrators in the capital.
Hazara Shia Muslims have also been targeted in several large-scale kidnappings across Afghanistan in recent years, which have prompted demonstrations and sit-ins in Kabul and elsewhere.
The rise of Daesh in Afghanistan has already triggered concerns in a country which has been torn apart by decades of Taliban-led militancy and the 2001 invasion of the United States and its allies.