Islamic State suicide bombers slaughtered at least 29 people in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday in two deadly blasts.
The first explosion happened around 8 a.m. in the Shashdarak area, home to the American embassy and local government offices. Naturally, journalists and others rushed to the scene. The second explosion occurred when a suicide bomber disguised as a cameraman detonated himself among the reporters crowded at the site of the first attack, CNN reports, citing Kabul City Police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack via the social media app Telegram.
At least eight journalists, including famous Agence France Presse’s chief photographer in Kabul, Shah Marai, were killed in Monday’s attacks, which in addition to ending the lives of more than two dozen people also wounded another 45 others.
The Afghan government reportedly decried the bombings as an attack on the free press.
“This is one of the bloodiest and darkest days in the history of Afghan media,” Najib Sharifi, director for the Afghanistan Journalists Safety Committee stated, according to The Wall Street Journal. “This highlights the fact that Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous countries on earth for journalists,” he added. An estimated 21 reporters were killed in Afghanistan last year according to a local watchdog.
Monday’s attacks are the latest in a string of deadly attacks in the Afghan capital in recent months.
An ISIS suicide bomber targeted civilians at a voter identification card distribution center on April 22, killing more than 50 people and injuring more than 100 others. In March, an ISIS extremist blew himself up outside Kabul University, killing roughly 30 people and injuring many more, and in January, ISIS jihadis detonated a car bomb outside of a children’s charity, killing three and injuring two dozen other people.
Kabul also faces threats from the Taliban, which set off an ambulance packed with explosives outside a hospital in January, ending the lives of around one hundred people. About a week earlier, Taliban gunmen raided the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, killing 22 people.
The local government has faced criticism for its failure to secure the city as attacks become more and more frequent.
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