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Bomb blast at Kabul mosque leaves a ‘number of civilians dead’

A bomb has exploded in the entrance of a mosque in the Afghan capital Kabul, leaving a “number of civilians dead”, according to the Taliban.

The blast happened as a memorial service was being held for the mother of deputy information minister Zabihullah Mujahid, who later tweeted the attack had claimed civilian lives.

Those killed were people outside the mosque gate, according to Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi.

He did not provide a figure for the number dead and said an investigation was ongoing.

Emergency NGO, an Italian-funded hospital in Kabul, tweeted it had received four people wounded in the blast.

The area around the mosque was cordoned off by the Taliban, who maintained a heavy security presence.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast.

However, since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August, attacks carried out against them by Islamic State (IS) militants have increased.

The rise has raised the possibility of a wider conflict between the two extremist groups.

IS maintains a strong presence in the eastern province of Nangarhar and considers the Taliban an enemy.

It has claimed several attacks against the Taliban, including several killings in the provincial capital of Jalalabad.

Attacks in the capital Kabul have so far been rare, but in recent weeks IS has shown signs it is expanding its presence beyond the east and closer toward the capital.

On Friday, Taliban fighters raided an IS hideout just north of Kabul in Parwan province.

The raid came after an IS roadside bomb wounded four Taliban fighters in the area.

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