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At least 29 killed in IS attack on Nauroz celebrations in Kabul

At least 29 killed in IS attack on Nauroz celebrations in Kabul

At least 29 killed in IS attack on Nauroz celebrations in Kabul

In an interview from Kabul, Habib Wardak, a national security analyst, said the timing and location of the attack was "no coincidence".

The bomber was less than 200 metres from Karte Sakhi shrine where many Afghans gather every year to mark Nawrooz, which is the traditional Persian new year holiday.

The attacker blew himself up outside Kabul University after he was stopped by security forces on his way to Sakhi shrine, where locals had gathered for Persian New Year, according to CNN, Kabul police spokesman Basir Mojahid.

Yesterday's blast, the latest in a series to have hit Shi'ite targets in Kabul, came as people were walking away from the shrine, near the city's main university. Afghanistan is home to a powerful Islamic State affiliate that has repeatedly targeted Shiites, who the Sunni extremists view as apostates deserving death.

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News reports quoted the interior ministry as saying that a suicide bomber had detonated his explosives while walking among a group of people. Several women and children were among the casualties.

There were fears that Wednesday's death toll could rise as rescuers struggled to reach the scene, through crowds and traffic jams.

Gen Daud said the attacker managed to slip past police checkpoints set up along the road. "The martyrdom operation carried out with a suicide vest struck a Shiite gathering during their Nauruz holiday celebrations in the city of Kabul", it said. An ambulance packed with explosives killed more than 100 people in the Chicken Street shopping area.

"I continue to hope that every citizen of Afghanistan soon will be able to live in peace, without fear of indiscriminate attacks by terrorists who have no respect for human life", he said in a statement.

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