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At Least Eight Killed In Bomb Blast In Shi'ite Neighborhood Of Kabul; Islamic State Claims Responsibility

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Shi’ites in Afghanistan are currently commemorating the first 10 days of the Islamic holy month of Muharram. (file photo)

The Islamic State (IS) militant group has claimed responsibility for a blast in a Shi'ite residential area in Kabul that killed at least eight people and wounded 18 others.

The bomb was hidden in a cart loaded with vegetables and exploded on August 5 in an area where residents shop for food, said Khalid Zadran, the Taliban-appointed spokesman for the Kabul police chief.

"The explosion happened in a crowded place," Zadran said.

Police said at least eight people were killed and 18 wounded in the blast. The militant group said in a statement that 20 people were killed and injured in the attack.

The Kabul neighborhood where the blast occurred is mainly inhabited by members of the ethnic Hazara community, who are mostly Shi’ite Muslims.

Shi’ites in Afghanistan are currently commemorating the first 10 days of the Islamic holy month of Muharram, culminating in Ashura on August 8, when worshipers gather at mosques and take part in processions.

"Once again, the enemy carried out an attack on [holy days] and killed innocent civilians," said Zadran. He added that an investigation has been launched.

A senior Taliban security official who declined to be named was quoted by Reuters as saying that the blast resulted in the wounding and killing of more than 50 people, including women and children.

"There is a possibility that the death toll will increase because most of the wounded people had critical wounds," the official said.

Though the number of violent public attacks across the country has fallen since the Taliban returned to power in August last year, IS has continued to target Shi’ites.

The Taliban launched a sweeping crackdown against IS headquarters in the country's east after it seized power.

A gunbattle in Afghanistan’s capital on August 3 in another Shi'ite neighborhood left at least five people dead, including two Taliban police officers, Zadran said.

The gunbattle erupted after police launched an operation against a hideout in the Karti Sakhi neighborhood in western Kabul heavily populated by Shi’ites, Zadran said. The officers killed at least three of the gunman, who Zadran said were Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) militants.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP
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