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10 killed as suicide bomber hits political gathering in Kabul

10 killed as suicide bomber hits political gathering in Kabul
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Kabul: At least 10 people were killed and nine others wounded when a suicide bomb ripped through a banquet hall in a northern neighbour hood of Afghanistan's capital of Kabul on Thursday, police and
witnesses said.
"A terrorist wearing an explosives-packed jacket tried to enter Qasr-e-Naween Hall at midday in Khair Khana Mina locality shortly before a political gathering ended," Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid told Xinhua.
He said the police intercepted the attacker after identifying him but the assailant detonated his explosive, causing casualties.
"The bomber struck at the front gate of the building. The victims included seven police officers and two civilians in addition to the bomber. Among the injured people were seven policemen and two civilians," he said.
The meeting was held by supporters of Atta Mohammad Noor, Governor of northern Balkh province, and a senior member of Jamiat-e-Islami of Afghanistan, a major political party, witness Ahmad Farshad told Xinhua.
Several high-ranking officials, senior members of Jamiat and members of country's parliament were among the attendees of the meeting to honour Noor, he said.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.
Late last month, 30 people, including Fazil Ahmad, a member of Jamiat, were killed and 22 civilians wounded in a suicide bomb attack in western Ghor province.
It was not clear if the politician, Atta Mohammad Noor, governor of the northern province of Balkh and a leader of the mainly ethnic Tajik Jamiat-i-Islami party, was at the meeting at the time
of the attack.
Islamic State claimed responsibility, according to Amaq, its official news agency. The Taliban denied involvement.
"We are proud to be martyred because of our country and our rights. This gathering was for the sake of our country to raise our voice," said witness Jan Mohammad.
The explosion was the latest in a wave of violence that has killed and wounded thousands of civilians in Afghanistan this year.
Political tensions are up as politicians have begun jockeying for position ahead of presidential elections expected in 2019.
A spokesman for the interior ministry said the bomber approached the hotel hosting the gathering in the Khair Khana district of Kabul, on foot. The dead included seven policemen and two civilians.
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