Suicide bomb targets clerics gathered for peace in Kabul

KABUL: A suicide bomber exploded a device near clerics on Monday as they were leaving a giant tent in the west of Kabul where they had gathered to denounce terrorism and call for peace, security officials said.

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Details of casualties were not immediately known.

A series of bombings in Kabul that has killed dozens of people in recent months has showed no sign of easing during the holy month of Ramazan.

Initially, four people were reported killed but the police very soon raised the death toll to seven and said that nine people were wounded. It was not immediately clear how many of the clerics were among those killed.

Aziz added that had the attacker penetrated deeper, the casualty numbers could have been significantly higher.

Around 2,000 members of the council had gathered for the meeting at the tent erected in the Afghan capital’s 5th District. The explosion struck as the council was ending and the participants were about to leave, Aziz also said.

Shortly before the attack, the clerics had issued a fatwa, declaring that suicide attacks are “haram” — forbidden under Islamic law.

The council appealed on both the Afghan government forces and the Taliban and other militants to halt the fighting and agree on a cease-fire. It also called for peace negotiations between the two sides. It was the first time the council has issued such an appeal.

Less than an hour before the attack happened, Ghofranullah Murad, a member of the council, read out a written statement from the gathering saying that innocent Afghan men, women and children are the true victims of war.

Reuters/AP

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