KABUL, Afghanistan, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- A suicide bomb explosion in Kabul's Baqir ul Olum Shiite mosque killed at least 27 people and injured another 35 Monday, a police chief said.
The bombing on the first floor of the mosque occurred as congregants prepared for prayers, Afghanistan's Interior Ministry said. The explosion happened as a service honoring the death of Imam Hussein, Shiite martyr and grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, was ending. The Shiite sect of Islam regards him as the rightful heir to the prophet.
Afghan officials said the attacker entered the building and blew himself up while standing in a crowd. Mosques in Kabul typically have no security forces present.
Afghan officials routinely blame the Taliban for similar incidents, but Monday's mosque blast was denied by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, who said, "We have never attacked mosques as it's not our agenda."
He told the BBC, "We condemn this blast. This act cannot be our work and has nothing to do with us."
Although Afghanistan's Shiite population has largely been spared the level of violence seen in Iraq and Pakistan, the country has seen a recent increase in Islamic State terrorist activity. An explosion during a Shiite protest march in Kabul, for which IS took responsibility, killed at least 85 people and injured more than 400 in July.