IS claims responsibility for suicide attack that killed 34 students

Another 57 people were hurt in the explosion in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

A funeral is held for one of the victims (AP)
A funeral is held for one of the victims (AP)

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that targeted a Shia area of the Afghan capital, killing 34 students.

IS said through its affiliated news agency that its bomber, identified as “martyrdom-seeking brother Abdul Raouf al-Khorasani” carried out the attack in Kabul.

Afghanistan’s health ministry has released a revised casualty toll, saying 34 students were killed and 57 were wounded.

A grief-stricken relative bids farewell to one of the victims (AP)

The incident targeted a building where students were preparing to sit university entrance exams.

The bomber had walked into a classroom at a Shia educational centre in Dasht-e-Barchi.

Most of the victims were young men and women who had recently graduated from high school.

Authorities launched an investigation to determine how the bomber had managed to sneak into the compound in the area, which has its own guards.

Afghan president Ashraf Ghani condemned the “terrorist” attack, saying it “martyred and wounded the innocent”.

Afghan men bury a victim of the deadly suicide bombing (AP)

The Dasht-e-Barchi area is populated by members of Afghanistan’s minority ethnic Hazaras – a Shia community that has in the past been targeted by similar large-scale attacks.

IS, which considers Shias to be heretics, frequently targets them, attacking their mosques, schools and cultural centres. In the past two years, there have been at least 13 attacks on the Shia community in Kabul alone.

Grieving families have gathered to bury their dead after the atrocity, but even amid the sombre atmosphere there was no respite from violence in the city.

Gunmen besieged a compound belonging to the Afghan intelligence service in a north-western Kabul area, opening fire as Afghan security forces moved in to cut them off.

President Ghani said the attack had martyred the innocent (AP)

Two gunmen who attacked the compound were killed by security forces after a six-hour siege.

A spokesman said police finally took control of a partially constructed building where the gunmen had holed up in order to shoot at the nearby compound.

The attacks, which come at the end of more than a week of assaults that have left scores of Afghan troops and civilians dead, show how militants are still able to stage large-scale attacks – even in the capital, Kabul – and undermine efforts by Afghan forces to provide security and stability on their own.

Afghanistan’s IS affiliate is known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province.

Khorasan is the ancient name for an area that encompassed parts of present-day Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Press Association

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