Gunman 'kills 14' in attack on Shia shrine in Afghan capital Kabul

Another 26 people are wounded in the attack

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The Independent Online

At least 14 people have been killed in an attack on a Shia shrine in the Afghan capital, Kabul,according tyo officials. 

Another 26 people were wounded in the attack on Sakhi Shrine in the city's western suburbs, the largest such shrine in Kabul, Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said. 

The dead included 13 civilians and one policeman, while three police officers were wounded, according to Sediqqi. 

Contrary to earlier reports of three gunmen, Mr Sediqqi said only one gunman was involved in the attack. He was shot dead by police. 

The attack took place as people gathered ahead of Wednesday's Ashoura, a holy day of mourning that commemorates the death in 680 AD of the Prophet Mohamed's grandson, Imam Hussein. 

Kabul police had warned Shias against large gatherings as attacks were expected. Lt. Gen. Gul Nabi Ahmadzia, the commander of the Kabul garrison, told The Associated Press on Monday that he had received credible reports that Ashoura activities would be targeted and called for Shias to hold the ceremonies “within limits.” 

Shias make up an estimated 15 per cent of Afghanistan's population of around 30 million people. Most Afghan Shias are ethnic Hazaras. Militant Sunni fundamentalists such as the Taliban and Isis Shias as apostates and frequently attack Shia mosques and public gatherings. 

A July suicide bomb attack in central Kabul that targeted a public demonstration by Hazaras against discrimination killed at least 80 people and wounded more than 200. 

In 2011, at least 54 people were killed when a suicide bomber detonated his device at another Kabul shrine where hundreds of people had gathered. A Shia mosque in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif was hit at the same time, leaving four dead. 

Associated Press