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A prominent cleric and civilians killed in an explosion at a mosque in Afghanistan


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Sources at the scene told Al Jazeera that 15 people were killed in the mosque explosion.

An explosion outside a mosque in the western Afghan city of Herat killed a prominent pro-Taliban cleric and more than a dozen civilians.

Herat police spokesman, Mahmoud Rasouli, said that “Mujibur Rahman Ansari, some of his bodyguards and civilians were killed on their way to the mosque.”

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Rasouli did not say how many casualties the blast caused on Friday.

Sources at the scene told Al Jazeera that 15 people were killed. No group has claimed responsibility for Friday’s blast.

Mujibur Rahman Ansari had spoken forcefully in defense of the Taliban at a large gathering of thousands of scholars and sheikhs organized by the group in late June, condemning anyone who stood against their administration.

The Taliban say they have improved security in the country since taking power about a year ago, but there have been several explosions in recent months, some targeting crowded mosques during prayers.

The United Nations has raised concerns about a growing number of attacks, and a local branch of Islamic State has claimed responsibility for some of the blasts.

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