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09.41 28 Dec 2017


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Updated 11:30

At least 40 people have been killed and dozens more wounded following multiple blasts at a Shia cultural centre in Kabul.

Najib Danish, a spokesperson for the Afghan interior ministry, said an unknown number of suicide attackers had set off explosions outside of the centre.

The interior ministry believes the attackers then stormed inside and detonated further explosions in the cultural centre's basement.

Islamic State has said it directed the attacks, and claimed through its propaganda outlet Amaq that it targeted the centre with three bombs followed by a suicide bombing.

At least 56 people were also wounded during the attack.

Shia Muslims were inside the centre to commemorate the December 1979 invasion of Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union, according to Mr Danish.

The Taliban quickly denied any involvement in the attacks, and has not typically singled out Shia Muslims in the course of its insurgency in the Sunni-majority nation.

The cultural centre is located in a Shia majority neighbourhood in the west of Kabul.

ISIS affiliate fighters have been active in the country, targeting the Afghanistan's Shia minority population which the group considers apostates.

The president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, described the attack as a "crime against humanity" in a statement released by the presidential palace.

He said: "The terrorists have killed our people. The terrorists have attacked our mosques, our holy places and now our cultural centre."

President Ghani said the attacks were against Islam and "all human values."

On Twitter, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the attack had "nothing to do with" the organisation, which they claimed was "very cautious" not to target media centres and education facilities.


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