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Suicide attack in Kabul as Afghans mark national holiday

Police patrol the streets after a suicide attack in front of the Kabul university in Kabul, Wednesday, March 21, 2018.

AP

Last Updated Mar 21, 2018 10:39 AM EDT

KABUL, Afghanistan – A suicide bomber blew himself up on the road to a Shiite shrine in Kabul on Wednesday, where people had gathered to mark the Persian new year. At least 31 people were killed and 65 people wounded, the Public Health Ministry said. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Persian new year, known in Afghanistan as Nauruz, is a national holiday. The country's minority Shiites typically celebrate by visiting shrines.

ISIS has repeatedly targeted Shiites, who the extremists view as apostates deserving of death.

The attack took place near Kabul University and a government hospital, around one mile away from the Sakhi shrine, where people were gathered to celebrate the new year, said Gen. Daud Amin, Kabul's police chief.

Daud said the attacker managed to slip past police checkpoints set up along the road. He said an investigation into the security breach is underway, and that anyone found to have neglected his duties would be punished.