A suicide bomb and gun attack claimed by the Islamic State group on a Shiite mosque in Kabul killed 20 people and wounded scores more Friday, officials said, the latest assault to highlight deteriorating security in Afghanistan.
Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said that after the blast at the Imam Zaman mosque in the Qala-Najara neighbourhood, three gunmen entered and began shooting.
Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glasse, reporting from Kabul, said police were trying to clear the mosque.
The Islamic State, though its media agency Amaq, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Ismail Kawoosi, spokesman for Ministry of Public Health, said the number of casualties from the attack may increase.
Meanwhile, a second explosion was reported from near the Imam Zaman mosque.
The police apologized and said they could not allow her to pass because fighting was underway, and asked a couple of elders to help console the woman and take her away.
Worshippers, wounded and dead are being taken out of the Shiite mosque. "Some people escaped out of the mosque including women, but there were four attackers who managed to enter the mosque". That attack killed more than 30 people as they gathered for evening prayers, according to local officials.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. As the siege continued, more loud explosions have been heard.
The assault underscores spiralling insecurity in Afghanistan as a resurgent Taliban steps up offensives across the country, while ISIL, known for carrying out sectarian attacks, expands its Afghan footprint.
Eyewitnesses said the security forces arrived at the scene two hours following the attack.
Security forces later reached the spot and started rescue operation.