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26/06/2015 11:09 BST | Updated 26/06/2015 13:59 BST

Kuwait Mosque Attack Kills At Least 25 And Injuries Several Hundred, Islamic State Claims Responsibility

At Least 25 people are believed to have been killed in a suicide bombing at a Shi'ite Muslim mosque in Kuwait which the Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for.

A tweet from an account known to belong to IS claims the explosion was the work of a suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt, the Associated Press reported. The bombing took place after Friday prayers when about 2,000 were at the mosque.

Earlier the death toll was suspected to be between 10-13, but it soon doubled to estimates of at least 25, according to the Associated Press, who reported that a further 202 were injured.

kuwait june 26

An injured man sits outside the Kuwait mosque where a suicide bomber killed at least 13 people

Kuwaiti parliament member Khalil al-Salih told Reuters that worshippers were kneeling in prayer when a suicide bomber walked into the mosque and blew himself up, destroying walls and the ceiling.

"It was obvious from the suicide bomber's body that he was young. He walked into the prayer hall during sujood (kneeling in prayer), he looked ...in his 20s, I saw him with my own eyes," he said.

"The explosion was really hard. The ceiling and wall got destroyed."

Another witness, Ahmed al-Shawaf, told AP that he heard a man interrupt prayer by shouting "Allahu Akbar," or "God is Great" in Arabic, several times.

He said the man then he yelled out something about joining the Prophet Muhammad for iftar, the dusk meal with which Muslims break their daytime fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, which started last week. Then, the blast came, al-Shawaf said.

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The Twitter statement identified the bomber as Abu Suleiman al-Muwahed and said the target was a "temple of the rejectionists" - a term used by the Sunni militant group to refer to Shi'ite Muslims.

The attack was claimed by an affiliate of the Islamic State calling itself the Najd Province, the same group that claimed responsibility for a pair of attacks on two Shi'ite mosques in Saudi Arabia in recent weeks.

It was the first suicide bombing attack on a Shi'ite mosque in the Kuwait City, where Sunnis and Shi'ites live side by side with little apparent friction, Reuters reported.

IS on Tuesday urged its followers to step up attacks during the Ramadan fasting month against Christians, Shi'ites and Sunni Muslims fighting with a US-led coalition against the ultra-radical group.

The bombing came as a man was decapitated at a factory in the French town of Saint-Quentin-Fallavier between Lyon and Grenoble in what is believed to have been an Islamic terror attack, and at least 27 people were gunned down in the seaside town of Sousse, in Tunisia.

Kuwaiti television showed footage of the emir, Sheik Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, visiting the damaged mosque in the eastern Sawaber district.

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The Interior Ministry told citizens to stay away from the mosque to allow authorities to investigate.

IS has recently twice targeted Shi'ite mosques in neighboring Saudi Arabia and carried out attacks against members of the sect's Zaydi branch in Yemen.

Kuwait's Minister of Justice, Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Yaqoub Al-Sanea condemned the "terrorist attack" which he said "threatens our security, and aims to fracture the country's unity," Reuters reported.

"Kuwait will remain an oasis of security for all groups of Kuwaiti society and all sects. The government is taking many procedures to protect prayers and mosques."