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BEIRUT: The Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) group claimed a deadly suicide bomb attack on Friday that hit a Shia mosque in the Afghan city of Kunduz.

In a statement released on its Telegram channels, the IS group said that an IS suicide bomber "detonated an explosive vest amid a crowd" of Shia worshippers who had gathered inside the mosque.

In a second statement, IS said the "perpetrator of the attack was an Uyghur Muslim", a minority that the "Taliban had vowed to expel" from Afghanistan.

Suicide bomber kills at least 55 at mosque in Afghanistan

The extremist IS group, bitter rivals of the Taliban, has repeatedly targeted Shias in a bid to stir up sectarian violence in Afghanistan.

Shias make up roughly 20 percent of the Afghan population. Many of them are Hazara, an ethnic group that has been heavily persecuted in Afghanistan for decades.

Friday's mosque attack, which killed at least 55 people, is the bloodiest assault since US forces left the country.

Graphic images shared on social media, which could not immediately be verified, showed several bloodied bodies lying on the floor. Pictures showed plumes of smoke rising into the air over Kunduz.

In October 2017, an IS suicide attacker struck a Shia mosque as worshippers gathered for evening prayers in the west of Kabul, killing 56 people and wounding 55 including women and children.

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