Kabul: A suicide bomber on Wednesday killed at least 26 people, many of them teenagers, after detonating a device among a crowd of people in Kabul who were celebrating the Persian New Year holiday, officials said.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the deadly attack — the fifth suicide bombing in the Afghan capital in recent weeks — via its propaganda arm Amaq, SITE Intelligence Group said.
The Taliban earlier denied involvement on Twitter.
Another 18 people were wounded in the blast, Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said, “all of them civilians”.
There were fears the figure could rise, with the Health Ministry giving a higher toll of 29 people killed and 52 wounded. Afghan officials often give conflicting tolls in the wake of attacks.
The bomber, who was on foot, detonated his device in front of Kabul University and a hospital that was opposite, Rahimi said.
The blast occurred 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 — but had been unable to reach it due to heavy security for the holiday. So he “detonated himself among teenagers returning from there”, Kabul police chief Mohammad Daud Amin told Tolo News.