At least 29 people, including nine journalists, have been killed and dozens wounded after two explosions hit Kabul, according to Afghan health officials.
The blasts went off during rush hour on Monday morning in the Shash Darak area of the Afghan capital.
Al Jazeera’s Jennifer Glasse, reporting from Kabul, said the armed group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack.
In the first explosion, a suicide bomber detonated himself close to the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the main Afghan intelligence agency, TOLO News quoted an interior ministry spokesman as saying.
In another explosion that followed 20 minutes later, a second suicide bomber targeted emergency medical workers and journalists who had arrived at the scene.
The Afghan Journalists Safety Committee reported that nine journalists who rushed to cover the aftermath of the first explosion were killed in the second blast.
A spokesperson for the Afghan health ministry said the attacks killed at least 29 people and wounded 49 others, according to TOLO News.
AFP news agency reported that its chief photographer in Kabul, Shah Marai, was among the fatalities.
#UPDATE Agence France-Presse’s chief photographer in Kabul, Shah Marai, has been killed.
He died in a blast that was targeting a group of journalists who had rushed to the scene of a suicide attack in the Afghan capital pic.twitter.com/rOa4rg24x9
— AFP news agency (@AFP) April 30, 2018
Afghanistan’s 1TV television channel also reported that its reporter, Ghazi Rasooli, and cameraman, Nowroz Ali Rajabi were killed in the attack.
We have lost two of our staff members in today’s suicide bombing in #Kabul. Our reporter Ghazi Rasooli and cameraman Nowroz Ali Rajabi were covering an earlier suicide blast when they lost their lives. pic.twitter.com/Nnd8jGvIAB
— 1TVNewsAF (@1TVNewsAF) April 30, 2018
Azadi Radio, the Dari language service of Radio Free Europe, also reported that two of its staff have died.
Radio Free Europe identified the two journalists as Abadullah Hananzai and Moharram Durrani. A third staffer Sabwoon Kakar was injured.
An Al Jazeera photographer was also hurt in the incident.
TOLO News also reported that two other journalists were wounded in the second blast.
“It’s a very grim morning here,” Al Jazeera’s Glasse said describing the situation in the Afghan capital.
She added that there are many fortified streets near the site of the attack.
“There’s a lot of security in that area – it’s not far from NATO headquarters – and security has been beefed up around the Afghan capital, but clearly they haven’t been able to stop these kind of attacks.”
The explosions on Monday come just a week after a blast hit a voter registration centre in Kabul, killing at least 57 people and wounding more than 100 others.
Attacks have multiplied in recent days in advance of the long-delayed parliamentary and district council elections scheduled for October 20 this year.
“The series of attacks here in Kabul have made the Afghan capital most dangerous place in Afghanistan to be,” Al Jazeera’s Glasse said.
|The second blast targeted emergency workers and journalists who arrived at the scene [AP]|