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Deputy mayor of Kandahar assassinated

From Journalist Muhib Habibi
  • Deputy mayor of Kandahar assassinated as he took part in evening prayers
  • Azizullah Yarmal was praying in a mosque when at least one attacker shot him
  • Also in Kandahar, a donkey-towed cart with explosives blew up at a police post, killing 3
  • The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing

Kabul, Afghanistan -- The deputy mayor of Kandahar, Afghanistan, was assassinated Monday as he took part in evening prayers, according to a local government spokesman.

Azizullah Yarmal, 45, was praying in a mosque in the Sadoza Dana neighborhood around 9 p.m. when at least one attacker walked in and shot him in the back of the head, Zalmai Ayoubi, a spokesman for the Kandahar government, told CNN. He called it a "brutal attack."

Ayoubi said police have sealed off the mosque and are investigating the killing.

Also in Kandahar on Monday, a donkey-towed cart loaded with explosives and a remote control detonator blew up at a police post, killing at least three people and wounding four, officials said.

Ayoubi said three children were killed by the blast, and two police and two civilians were slightly wounded.

A spokesman for the Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the bombing, said 11 people were killed in the explosion.

"Today's donkey cart bomb explosion was on foreign forces, which killed 11 foreigners and four were injured," Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said.

The attack took place at the Fazladding Agha escort post of the Afghan National Police in Kandahar, said Mohammad Shah Khan, assistant police chief.

Ahmadi said the bombing was in response to the planned U.S.-led offensive to oust Taliban fighters from the volatile Kandahar region this summer.

"Our message in this is to tell them we are present here and now we are showing our power, too," Ahmadi said.

Monday's attacks are the latest in a series of incidents in Afghanistan's second largest city as Taliban insurgents seek to make their presence felt ahead of an expected U.S. and NATO operation to regain control in the region.

CNN's Michael Holmes and journalist Muhib Habibi contributed to this report.