Suicide bomber kills dozens at Kabul religious ceremony


KABUL -- Over 40 people were killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul Tuesday (November 20), targeting a meeting of hundreds of religious leaders who had convened in a large wedding hall to commemorate the birthday of Prophet Mohammad.

Over 80 people were wounded in the blast, Health Ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh said, and at least 24 others are in critical condition.

"The suicide bomber detonated himself inside the hall during a ceremony involving religious scholars," Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid said, confirming the casualty toll.

Italian NGO Emergency tweeted that a dozen wounded had been taken to its trauma facility in Kabul, all of them "seriously wounded."

A manager of Uranus Wedding Palace, which also hosts political and religious functions, told AFP the suicide bomber blew himself up in the middle of the gathering of about 1,000.

"There are a lot of casualties -- I myself have counted 30 casualties," he told AFP on the condition of anonymity.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) has claimed most recent suicide attacks in Kabul in an attempt to stoke ethnic and sectarian tensions.

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