The attack at Jawadia Mosque in Bekr Abad area in Herat city – in the country’s west – on Tuesday night was carried out by two suicide bombers. However, eyewitnesses claim that two additional attackers also opened fire on worshipers when they were trying to flee to safety.
Government officials have confirmed the attack was carried out by two suicide bombers.
The attack started when the suicide bombers entered the main gate of the mosque. One suicide bomber opened fire on a security guard who was sitting on a chair in front of an entrance gate.
The two attackers then entered the mosque through separate entrances and opened fire on worshipers who were sitting in orderly rows inside the mosque.
According to TOLOnews reporter Jawed Ziaratjaee, the attackers used hand grenades to target the worshipers.
When they ran out of bullets, the two attackers then detonated explosives on their bodies.
Residents and eyewitnesses claim that at least 54 people were killed in the bombings.
“We moved 54 bodies and we are not aware about other martyrs who were taken to other health facilities and houses,” said one eyewitness.
Eyewitnesses told TOLOnews that two other attackers were waiting outside the mosque and opened fire on worshipers when they were running to save their lives.
The eyewitnesses said the two other attackers had left the area when their job was done.
Survivors of the attack claimed that police had not helped the worshipers despite their check post being only 50 meters down the road.
“When people went to the police check post they said it did not belong to them (to react to the attack),” said one resident.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, former minister of energy and water and former governor of Herat, Mohammad Ismail Khan, said government has failed to maintain law-and-order in the country.
“If we see further activity by the enemy in the country, I am sure that we will ask the Herat people to stand together against them in order to prevent us from mourning victims every day,” he said.
The Presidential Palace has sent a fact-finding team to Herat to probe the incident.
The Herat governor’s office has confirmed 29 people were killed and 64 others were wounded in the attack.
Daesh has claimed responsibility for the attack.