40 dead in Kabul bombing attack; IS takes credit

People react after a terror attack at a cultural center in Kabul, Afghanistan on Thursday. Photo by Jawad Jalali/EPA

Dec. 28 (UPI) — Blasts targeting a Shiite cultural center in Kabul, Afghanistan, killed over 40 people Thursday and injured more than 20.

Two bombs exploded in the Tebyan center, with a suicide bomber detonating a vest in the cultural center and a “sticky bomb” detonating on the wall.

The attack targeted a pro-Iran cultural center where a gathering of students went for an academic discussion about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan on Christmas Eve in 1979.

The Islamic State took credit for the attack, which occurred at a Shiite Hazara minority neighborhood — just days after it claimed responsibility for a Christmas Day bombing on Afghanistan’s main intelligence agency.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied the group’s involvement in the attack.

Women and students were among the dead, Nasrat Rahimi, Afghanistan’s deputy spokesman for the interior ministry, said. Journalists from the Afghan Voice news agency were also injured in the attack.

“We were having the gathering in the basement,” Hassan Mujtaba, a witness, told Stars and Stripes. “There were many people, suddenly there was a big blast and after that I don’t know what happened.”

Officials estimate 1,000 Islamic State fighters remain in Afghanistan.

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