ISIS strengthening foot hold in Afghanistan

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ISIS strengthening foot hold in Afghanistan

KABUL: Islamic State (ISIS) is strengthening it's foot hold in Afghanistan with each passing day.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a crowded Shi'ite mosque in Kabul on Monday that killed more than 30 people and wounded dozens in its third major attack on minority Shi'ites in the Afghan capital since July.

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Officials said the attacker entered the Baqir-ul-Olum mosque shortly after midday as worshippers gathered for Arbaeen, a Shi'ite ritual marking the end of a 40-day mourning period for the 7th century death of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammad. A statement in Arabic from Islamic State's Amaq news agency said one of its fighters had targeted the mosque.

Bloody sectarian rivalry between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims has been relatively rare in Afghanistan, a majority Sunni country, but the attack underlines the deadly new dimension that growing ethnic tension could bring to its decades-long conflict.

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Fraidoon Obaidi, chief of the Kabul police Criminal Investigation Department, said at least 27 people were killed and 35 wounded, while the United Nations said at least 32 had been killed and more than 50 wounded, including many children. It described the attack as "an atrocity".