Bomb blast in Kabul, Afghanistan kills eight, injures more than 20

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KABUL: A bomb blast on a busy shopping street in the Afghan capital Kabul killed at least eight people on Saturday and injured 22, hospital officials and witnesses said.
The bomb exploded in a western district of the city where members of the Shia minority Muslim community regularly meet. Islamic State, a Sunni Muslim militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack, the group said on its Telegram channel.

A chief medical officer at a private hospital said at least eight people had died and 22 were injured.

A Home Office spokesman said a team of investigators was at the site of the blast to assist the injured and assess casualties.

Video footage posted online shows ambulances rushing to the scene, which is also near bus stations.

The attack preceded Ashura, a commemoration of the martyrdom of Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, which is marked primarily by Shia Muslims.

On Friday, at least eight people were killed and 18 injured in an explosion in Kabul carried out by the Islamic State.

The Islamic State does not control any territory in Afghanistan, but it does have sleeper cells that attack the country’s religious minorities as well as patrols by the ruling Taliban.

Sunni Muslim Taliban authorities, which seized control of Afghanistan in August last year after a two-decade insurgency, said they would provide more protection to Shia mosques and other facilities.

Sayed Kazum Hojat, a Shia religious scholar in Kabul, said the Taliban government had tightened security ahead of Ashura but should improve vigilance.

No up-to-date census data exists, but estimates put the size of the Shia community at between 10 and 20% of the population of 39 million, including Persian-speaking Tajiks and Pashtuns as well as Hazaras. .

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