At least seven people were killed, and 15 others were wounded in a suicide attack on a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan during Friday prayers, the Taliban government announced.

The blast occurred as worshipers gathered inside the Imam Zaman mosque in Pol-e-Khomri, the capital of Baghlan province. Islamic State claimed responsibility, a member of which “detonated the explosive belt” he was wearing, according to the jihadists’ Amaq news agency.

A source at Baghlan’s local hospital, who asked not to be named, said that the reckoning is heavier and that 19 bodies and 40 injured have been taken to the hospital. “The dead and injured were also transferred to other private hospitals,” he asserted.

After the return of the Taliban in power in August 2021, there have been many attacks on mosques, especially on Fridays. The responsibility for most of them was claimed by the local branch of the Islamic State. Its target is usually religious minorities (Shia, Sufi, Sikh), foreigners or foreign interests, and the Taliban themselves. In September 2022, a bomb attack on a study hall in the Shiite district of Kabul killed at least 53 people, including 46 girls, according to the United Nations.

IS “seeks to provoke sectarian war and destabilize the region” and has carried out more than 190 suicide bombings in the past year alone, killing or wounding 1,300 people, according to a recent UN Security Council report.