At least 63 people were killed and nearly 200 others were wounded by a suicide bomber at a wedding hall in Afghanistan on Sunday, officials said.
The attacker set off the explosives among the roughly 1,200 guests at the event at the Dubai City wedding hall in Kabul, Nusrat Rahimi, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, told The Associated Press. An affiliate group of the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
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“There are so many dead and wounded,” survivor Ahmad Omid said. “I was with the groom in the other room when we heard the blast and then I couldn’t find anyone. Everyone was lying all around the hall.”
The blast, which left 182 people injured, occurred in a western Kabul neighborhood that’s home to many of the country’s minority Shiite Hazara community, was the deadliest attack in Kabul this year.
A local affiliate of ISIS in Afghanistan wrote on an ISIS-linked website on Sunday that a Pakistani-ISIS fighter seeking martyrdom was responsible for the suicide bombing, and claimed a car bomb was also detonated in the attack.
The bombing broke a period of relative calm in Afghanistan’s capital city, after 14 people were killed and another 145 were wounded — most of them women, children and other civilians — on Aug. 7 when a Taliban car bomb aimed at Afghan security forces detonated explosives.
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Kabul’s huge, brightly lit wedding halls are centers of community life in a city weary of decades of war, with thousands of dollars spent on a single evening. Such wedding halls also serve as meeting places and, in November, at least 55 people were killed when a suicide bomber sneaked into a Kabul wedding hall where hundreds of Muslim religious scholars and clerics had gathered to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.
The Taliban denied involvement in that attack, and IS did not claim responsibility.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.