Blasts hit Kabul wrestling club, killing 20

Published: September 06, 2018 12:56:05 | Updated: September 11, 2018 21:27:12

The wounded being moved on makeshift stretchers after suicide bombers killed 20 and injured 70 in Afghan capital Kabul on Wednesday — Reuters photo

A suicide attack at a wrestling club in a Shi’ite neighbourhood of the Afghan capital Kabul and a second explosion apparently targeting emergency services and journalists at the site killed at least 20 people and wounded 70 on Wednesday, officials said.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in Dasht-e-Barchi, home to many members of the mainly Shi’ite Muslim Hazara ethnic minority which has been targeted repeatedly in the past by the militant Sunni group. The Taliban denied any involvement, according to a Reuters report.

Prior to Wednesday’s attack, the area had seen a series of similar incidents, most recently last month, when dozens of students preparing for a university entrance examination were killed at an educational centre.

As police and bystanders, some still wearing their torn wrestling kit, helped the wounded onto vehicles to be taken to hospital, the second explosion hit, catching journalists covering the attack for local television stations.

The second blast came from a car parked outside the club where the suicide attacker had struck, killing a reporter and a cameraman from local broadcaster Tolo News minutes after they had made a live report from the scene.

Four other local television crew were wounded.

After nine journalists died in a single incident in April, when a suicide bomber apparently targeted them while they were covering another attack in Kabul, at least 14 journalists have now been killed in Afghanistan so far this year.

Wednesday’s attack underlined the danger in Kabul as elections approach next month, as well as the threat facing the Hazaras, a Persian-speaking minority that has long faced discrimination and which has borne the brunt of attacks claimed by Islamic State in Kabul.

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