Kabul bombing leaves eight dead, more than 20 injured

KABUL, Aug. 6 (Reuters) – A bomb explosion on a busy shopping street in the Afghan capital, Kabul on Saturday killed at least eight people and injured 22, hospital officials and witnesses said.

The bomb exploded in a western neighborhood of the city where members of the Shia Muslim community’s minority meet regularly. Islamic State, a militant Sunni Muslim group, has claimed responsibility for the attack, the group said on its Telegram channel.

A senior medical officer from a private hospital said at least eight people were killed and 22 injured.

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A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said an investigation team was at the site of the explosion to help the injured and assess the victims.

Video footage posted online shows ambulances rushing to the accident site, which are also located near bus stations.

The attack preceded Ashura, a commemoration of the martyrdom of Hussein, a grandson of the prophet Mohammed, who is mainly characterized by Shia Muslims.

At least eight people were killed and 18 injured in an explosion in Kabul carried out by Islamic State on Friday. read more

Islamic State does not control any territory in Afghanistan, but it has dormitories that have attacked religious minorities in the country, as well as patrols by the ruling Taliban.

The Sunni Islamist Taliban authorities, which took over Afghanistan in August last year after a two-decade insurgency, have said they will provide greater protection for Shia mosques and other facilities.

Sayed Kazum Hojat, a Shia religious scholar in Kabul, said the Taliban government had stepped up security for Ashura but should improve vigilance.

There are no current census data, but estimates estimate the size of the Shia community at between 10-20% of the population of 39 million, including Persian-speaking Tajiks and Pashtuns, as well as Hazaras.

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Reporting by the editors of Kabul Editing by Andrew Heavens, Mark Heinrich and Frances Kerry

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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