IS suicide bomber kills 29 as Afghans celebrate New Year

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 Kabul, Mar 21: An Islamic State suicide bomber struck on the road to a Shiite shrine in Afghanistan’s capital today, killing at least 29 people as Afghans celebrated the Persian new year.

  The Public Health Ministry said another 52 people were wounded in the attack, which was carried out by a bomber on foot.

 The Islamic State group claimed the attack in an online statement, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi websites. IS said the attack targeted “a gathering of Shiites celebrating Nauruz.”

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

 The Sunni extremists of IS have repeatedly targeted Shiites, who they view as apostates deserving of death.

 The attack took place near Kabul University and a government hospital, around one kilometer 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.

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