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Afghanistan

At least 40 killed in ‘suicide bombing’ at Afghan religious gathering

  • A manager of the venue said the attacker blew himself up in the middle of a gathering of clerics marking Mohammad’s birthday
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2018, 11:09pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 November, 2018, 7:03am

At least 40 people were killed in a suicide bomb attack on a meeting of top clerics in Kabul on Tuesday, officials said, in one of the deadliest attacks to strike the Afghan capital in months.

It follows a wave of violence across war-torn Afghanistan in recent weeks that has killed hundreds of people as militants step up attacks.

Another 60 people were wounded in the blast, health ministry spokesman Wahid Majroh said, which targeted a gathering of religious leaders, including members of the Ulema Council, at a wedding hall to mark the Prophet Mohammad’s birthday.

“The suicide bomber detonated himself inside the hall during a ceremony,” Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid said, confirming the casualty toll.

Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the number of dead or wounded was “more than 50” so far.

A manager of Uranus Wedding Palace, which also hosts political and religious functions, said a suicide bomber blew himself up in the middle of the gathering of religious scholars.

“There are a lot of casualties – I myself have counted 30 casualties,” said on the condition of anonymity.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but Islamic State has claimed most recent suicide attacks in Kabul, which has become the deadliest place in the country for civilians.

It is the bloodiest assault in the Afghan capital since a twin bomb attack on a wrestling club in September that killed at least 26 people.

Eight hours of chaos in Kabul as thousands armed with guns and knives take over the streets

It is not the first time religious scholars have been targeted by militants in the country.

In June a suicide bomber struck near a gathering of clerics in Kabul, about an hour after the group had proclaimed such attacks a sin.