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Blast at wedding in Kabul kills 40 people, hurts dozens more

Posted at 10:49 AM, Nov 20, 2018

A suspected suicide bombing at a wedding hall in the Afghan capital, Kabul, has killed 40 people and injured dozens more, officials say.

The blast ripped through a venue near the city's international airport, where a gathering of religious scholars was taking place, the Afghan interior ministry said. The blast occurred around 6:15 p.m. local time, police said.

It was likely caused by a suicide attack, according to Najib Danish, spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of the Interior. The gathering was being held to mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed, he said.

At least 60 people were injured, the health ministry reported.

The security situation in Kabul has deteriorated sharply in the past year.

In August, at least 34 people were killedin an attack which targeted an education center. Among the victims were thought to be dozens of teenagers studying English.

Then in September, 20 people, including two journalists, were killed in twin bomb attacks on a wrestling club for which ISIS claimed responsibility. The second blast was detonated after emergency services, journalists and police arrived at the scene.

In July, the UN released a reportstating the number of Afghan civilians killed in the first six months of 2018 had reached a record high. Almost 1,700 civilians were killed from January 1 to June 30, a total higher than at any comparable time over the last 10 years, according to the UN.