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Omicron’s rapid spread shreds budding recovery in air travel

Taliban will step up mosque security after attacks

Large crowds of people gathered in the Afghan city of Kandahar on Saturday (October 16) to bury victims of the Islamic State suicide attack on worshippers as Taliban pledged to step up security at Shi'ite mosques.

Islamic State, which is a hardline Sunni group, claimed responsibility for Friday's attack at a mosque in Kandahar.

A group of suicide bombers shot their way into the largest Shi'ite mosque in the city before blowing themselves up during Friday prayers.

A health official said the death toll stood at 41 and 70 wounded but that could rise further.

The head of Kandahar police said units would be assigned to protect the Shi'ite mosques which have so far been guarded by local volunteer forces with special permission to carry weapons.

Malwy Abdul Ghafar Mohmadi, who is the Kandahar province commander, told Reuters that Islamic State is attacking ordinary Muslims and that his forces are trying their best to bring the perpetrators to justice, although there haven't been any arrests yet.

The Kandahar attack came a week after a similar incident on a mosque in the city of Kunduz, which killed at least 80 people.

Attacks on Shi'ite targets associated with the Hazara ethnic minority, who make up the biggest Shi'ite group in Afghanistan, were regular occurrences under the former Western-backed government.

The attacks have continued since the Taliban seized power in August, tarnishing the movement's claim to bring peace to Afghanistan after decades of war.

Since the takeover, Islamic State has conducted dozens of operations, from small scale attacks on Taliban targets to large-scale attacks on civilians.

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