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Afghanistan: Searching for bodies continues after 69 people killed in mosque bombings

AFGHANISTAN, KABUL (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Police and locals continued on Saturday to search for bodies under the rubble of a mosque in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar after Friday prayers killed at least 69 people.

The explosives were planted inside the mosque in the Gaudara district.

Sohrab Qadri, a member of the provincial council in Nangarhar province, said the mosque, which can hold more than 150 worshipers, was full at the time of the blasts.

“The bodies of 69 people, including children and the elderly, have been handed over to their families,” he said, adding that more bodies could be under the rubble.

Local officials on Friday put the death toll at 62.

No one has claimed responsibility, but the government has accused the Taliban, which is fighting to impose its hardline interpretation of Islamic law in the country.

Suhail Shahin, a Taliban spokesman, denied responsibility for the bombings and said in a tweet on Twitter that witnesses said it was caused by a mortar attack by government forces.

American Ambassador John R. Bass in a tweet ”killed worshipers gathered together in peace did unscrupulously. All Afghans have the right to live and practice worship together in safety.”

The EU said the attack was aimed at undermining hopes for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

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