A mass funeral ceremony has been held for the victims killed in Friday’s suicide bomb attack on a Shia mosque in Afghanistan’s southern city of Kandahar.
Government officials say 47 people died in the attack but a community elder Haji Farhad said the death toll is 63 but can change as still many victims are in serious condition in the hospital.
On Saturday, relatives laid the bodies of the victims to rest and called on the Taliban to protect them.
In a statement posted late on Friday on social media, the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K) said two of the group’s members shot and killed security guards manning the entrance of the Fatimiya mosque in Kandahar province.
One detonated his explosives at the entrance of the mosque and the other inside, it added.
Friday’s attack was the deadliest to strike Afghanistan since the dramatic United States’ dramatic exit from the country, which allowed the Taliban to seize control of the Afghan capital. It was also the first major attack by the group in the country’s south.
ISKP carries out frequent attacks in its eastern stronghold, but recently has shown signs of expansion, with attacks in the north and Kabul. The attacks have brought into question the Taliban’s ability to counter the growing ISKP threat.