Blast kills 29 near Sakhi shrine in Kabul, Afghan officials say

By Ehsan Popalzai

(CNN) -- A suspected suicide bomber killed 29 people Wednesday in Kabul, the latest in of a string of attacks to rock the Afghan capital since the start of the year.

Another 18 people were injured in the blast, according to Afghan Interior Ministry deputy spokesman Nasrat Rahimi.

A spokesman for Kabul city police, Basir Mojahid, said the attacker was trying to reach the capital's Sakhi shrine, where people had gathered to celebrate the Persian new year.

Before reaching the shrine, the attacker was identified by security forces and blew himself up in front of Kabul University, Mojahid said. The blast happened about 12:40 p.m. local time (4 a.m. ET).

Many of the injured have been taken to the hospital for treatment, the Ministry for Public Health said.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the blast.

A series of attacks in the capital this year had already fueled doubts over the Afghan authorities' ability to keep people safe.

Less then two weeks ago, a suicide bomber killed at least nine people when he detonated his device at a security checkpoint.

The previous month, several people were killed and injured in a suicide attack in the Shashdarak area of Kabul, not far from the Kabul Green Zone where many diplomatic compounds are located.

In January, Taliban gunmen stormed the Intercontinental hotel in Kabul, killing 22 people. Days later, the group claimed responsibility for an attack outside a hospital in which militants detonated explosives packed inside an ambulance. Nearly 100 people were killed in that attack.


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