Published: Thu, March 22, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Afghanistan: Bomber kills 30 worshippers in an attack on a Kabul shrine

Afghanistan: Bomber kills 30 worshippers in an attack on a Kabul shrine

Militant group Islamic State, which has claimed several previous attacks on Shi'ite targets, claimed responsibility, saying the attack specifically targeted Shi'ites celebrating Nawruz, its Amaq news agency said.

"There were more than a hundred people gathered when suddenly the explosion occurred", Ameer Hussaini, a witness, told The Times. Around the time of these two attacks, the Islamic State set off a vehicle bomb outside a children's charity, killing three and injuring over two dozen others.

Nasrat Rahimi, the deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said that a suicide bomber on foot detonated his explosives in front of the Ali Abad Hospital, in the Kart-e Sakhi area of western Kabul, killing 26 and wounding 18, according to preliminary figures.

Nawruz is extensively celebrated in Afghanistan by Shiite people by typically visiting the shrines.

A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, denied in a Twitter post that the group was responsible for the attack.

Kabul's police chief, General Daud Amin, said the bomber had managed to slip past police checkpoints set up along the road.

"We had our security in place in and around the shrine", he said.

The Saturday attack came amid talk of possible direct dialog between the Taliban and the Afghan government or between the militant group and the United States.

U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan John R. Bass said he was saddened by the "shameful" attack.

At least three civilians were also killed in the Afghan capital on Saturday in an attack, during which an assailant blew up a bomb-laden vehicle.

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