Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly attacks in Kabul

Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly attacks in Kabul

At least 41 people have been killed and 84 injured in a suicide bombing attack on a news agency and a neighbouring Shiite Muslim cultural centre in Afghanistan's capital Kabul.

The White House issued a statement Thursday that condemned the attack and offered "its deepest condolences to the victims and their families".

So-called Islamic State said it was behind the attack.

Community members said numerous people inside the center at the time were educated young people and children taking religious classes.

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Explosions caused what Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's office calls "a massacre" in a Shiite area in Kabul on Thursday.

The attack occurred during a morning panel discussion at the centre, many of those attending students, witnesses said.

A deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Nasrat Rahimi, said that at least 40 people had been killed and another 30 wounded, but that was an initial accounting.

The terror group said in a statement through its propaganda agency that one suicide bomber wearing a vest carried out the attack along with three other bomb blasts, Reuters reported. He said one reporter at the agency had been killed and one injured. It also says one journalist was killed and others were wounded.

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The Islamic State, a militant Sunni extremist group, regards Shiites as heretical, and some analysts have said it is attempting to drive a wedge between Afghan's dominant Sunni populace and the minority Shiites.

The Taliban insurgency distanced itself from the attack, saying its fighters do not target civilian facilities, especially those housing education and cultural centers.

Backed by the heaviest U.S. air strikes since the height of the worldwide combat mission in Afghanistan, Afghan forces have forced the Taliban back in many areas and prevented any major urban centre from falling into the hands of insurgents.

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