Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly mosque attack in Afghan capital

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ISIS claims responsibility for deadly shrine attack
An Afghan boy looks at a broken window of Sakhi Shrine after an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
A view of the Sakhi Shrine after an overnight attack in Kabul, Afghanistan October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
An Afghan mourns at the gate of the Sakhi Shrine after an overnight attack in Kabul, Afghanistan October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An Afghan boy receives treatment at a hospital after a gunman attacked a shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani
An Afghan Shi'ite Muslim man mourns during the funeral of his daughter who was killed in Tuesday's attack at the Sakhi Shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
An Afghan man sits inside an ambulance after an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan October 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
TOPSHOT - An Afghan man who lost his father in a gunmen attack weeps at the main gate of the Karte Sakhi shrine in Kabul on October 12, 2016. Gunmen targeted Shiite pilgrims in Kabul late on October 11, killing at least 14 people as they gathered to celebrate Ashura, one of the most important festivals on the Shiite calendar, officials said. / AFP / SHAH MARAI (Photo credit should read SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)
A general view of Karte Sakhi shrine after an attack by gunmen inside the Karte Sakhi shrine in Kabul on October 12, 2016. Gunmen targeted Shiite pilgrims in Kabul late on October 11, killing at least 14 people as they gathered to celebrate Ashura, one of the most important festivals on the Shiite calendar, officials said. / AFP / SHAH MARAI (Photo credit should read SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)
A bullet hole is seen on a window of the Karte Sakhi shrine in Kabul on October 12, 2016 after an attack by gunmen late on October 11. Grieving worshippers on October 12 described desperately trying to shelter their children against a hail of gunfire in Kabul that killed at least 18 people gathering to mark Ashura, one of the most important festivals of the Shiite calendar. / AFP / SHAH MARAI (Photo credit should read SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)
An Afghan policeman stands guard as Hazara women walk near the main gate of the Karte Sakhi shrine in Kabul on October 12, 2016. Gunmen targeted Shiite pilgrims in Kabul late on October 11, killing at least 14 people as they gathered to celebrate Ashura, one of the most important festivals on the Shiite calendar, officials said. / AFP / SHAH MARAI (Photo credit should read SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)
An Afghan woman walks past a policeman guarding the main gate of the Karte Sakhi shrine in Kabul on October 12, 2016. Gunmen targeted Shiite pilgrims in Kabul late on October 11, killing at least 14 people as they gathered to celebrate Ashura, one of the most important festivals on the Shiite calendar, officials said. / AFP / SHAH MARAI (Photo credit should read SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)
Two Afghan men sit in front of the Karte Sakhi shrine in Kabul on October 12, 2016, after an attack by gunmen late on October 11. Grieving worshippers on October 12 described desperately trying to shelter their children against a hail of gunfire in Kabul that killed at least 18 people gathering to mark Ashura, one of the most important festivals of the Shiite calendar. / AFP / SHAH MARAI (Photo credit should read SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)
An Afghan wounded girl named Frishta ,8, receives treatment at the Ali Abad hospital after an attack by gunmen inside the Karte Sakhi shrine in Kabul on October 12, 2016. Gunmen targeted Shiite pilgrims in Kabul late on October 11, killing at least 14 people as they gathered to celebrate Ashura, one of the most important festivals on the Shiite calendar, officials said. / AFP / SHAH MARAI (Photo credit should read SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)
An Afghan security personnel walks as he keep watch near the site of an attack by gunmen inside the Kart-e- Sakhi shrine in Kabul on October 11, 2016. Gunmen targeted Shiite pilgrims in Kabul killing at least 14 people as they gathered to celebrate Ashura, one of the most important festivals on the Shiite calendar, officials said.The attack in the Afghan capital marked unravelling security as the resurgent Taliban continued to pressure Afghan forces, with hundreds of commandos sent to reinforce the provincial capital Lashkar Gah in the south.Some 36 people were wounded and at least one attacker killed in the Kabul attack, interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said. / AFP / WAKIL KOHSAR (Photo credit should read WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)
A general overview of Karte Sakhi shrine after an attack by gunmen inside the Karte Sakhi shrine in Kabul on October 12, 2016. Gunmen targeted Shiite pilgrims in Kabul late on October 11, killing at least 14 people as they gathered to celebrate Ashura, one of the most important festivals on the Shiite calendar, officials said. / AFP / SHAH MARAI (Photo credit should read SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)
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KABUL, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Islamic State on Wednesday claimed responsibility for an attack that killed at least 18 worshippers at a shrine in the Afghan capital, raising fears of sectarian violence after a string of attacks on the country's Shi'ite minority.

The claim of responsibility for Tuesday's attack, released online, came as the minority gathered to observe Ashura, one of its holiest days, in commemorations subdued because of security fears, as well as the funerals of the dead.

SEE ALSO: ISIS uses exploding drones to kill Kurdish troops in first successful attack of its kind

On Wednesday afternoon, a second explosion outside a mosque in northern Afghanistan killed at least 14 people and wounded 24 at a similar Ashura gathering. But there was no immediate claim of responsibility for that blast

Islamic State also targeted members of Kabul's Shi'ite community in a suicide bombing in July that killed more than 80 people and wounded 130.

The attacker in Kabul, said to be wearing a police uniform, entered the Karte Shakhi mosque on Tuesday night and opened fire on a crowd of Shi'ite Muslims gathered for Ashura, which marks the seventh-century death of a grandson of the prophet Mohammed.

In its statement, Islamic State said the attacker detonated a suicide vest after firing all his ammunition, but security forces said they shot the man.

A Reuters video shows the suspected attacker's body intact, with no sign of an explosive vest.

The dead included four women and two children, said the United Nations, which condemned the attack as an "atrocity."

It put the tally at 18 civilians killed and 50 wounded, though some witnesses said the toll could be higher.

Mourners buried several of the victims, including a four-year-old girl, on Wednesday.

"We are not happy with the government and the police. They both failed to protect us and provide security for us," said one of the girl's relatives, Mohammed Hussain, who described the event as "doomsday" for the family.

The day is typically marked by processions that often include self-flagellation by some worshippers, but government warnings of possible attacks prompted more subdued observation of the event this year.

The Taliban, who have been waging a 15-year insurgency against the Western-backed government and often conduct attacks in Kabul, had denied involvement in the shooting.

The schism between Sunnis and Shi'ites developed after the prophet Mohammed died in 632 and his followers could not agree on a successor. Some Sunni Muslim militants see Shi'ites as a threat and legitimate targets for attack.

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