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Bomb blast at religious scholar gathering kills at least 40

Sky News logo Sky News 20/11/2018
a group of people standing in a room: Afghan health workers carry an injured person after a suicide attack targeted a wedding hall, in Kabul. Pic: JAWAD JALALI/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock © Rex Features Afghan health workers carry an injured person after a suicide attack targeted a wedding hall, in Kabul. Pic: JAWAD JALALI/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

A bomb blast at a gathering of religious scholars in Kabul has killed at least 40 people and wounded another 60, authorities say.

Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the bomber sneaked into a large wedding hall where hundreds of scholars and clerics had gathered to mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed.

Public health ministry spokesman Wahid Majroh said the attack took place as Muslims around the world celebrated the anniversary.

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The explosion happened at about 6.15pm local time at the Uranus Wedding Hall on the airport road in Kabul city centre, local site Tolo News reported.

Afghan policeman keep watch at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul © Sky Afghan policeman keep watch at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul

A witness outside Kabul's Emergency Hospital told the site "there were a lot of wounded people, I saw at least ten wounded people brought here."

The attack is the first of its kind against a Sunni religious gathering in Afghanistan, the Washington Post reported.

No one has claimed to have been behind the blast, but both Taliban and Islamic State groups have targeted religious scholars tied to the government in the past.

IS claimed it carried out a similar attack in June, killing at least seven people and wounding 20 at a meeting of the Afghan Ulema Council.

Made up of the country's top clerics, the council had issued a decree against suicide attacks and called for peace talks.

On Monday, a three-day meeting between the Taliban and the US special envoy for Afghanistan aimed at establishing a basis for peace talks, ended with no agreement, the militant group said.

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