By Euan McKirdy and Ehsan Popalzai
PHILADELPHIA (CNN) — At least 40 people were killed Thursday in a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, according to authorities.
Another 30 people were injured in the attack, Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi told CNN.
The attack happened around 10:30 a.m. local time (12.30 a.m ET) and targeted a cultural center in Police District 6 in Kabul. The initial suicide blast was followed by two more explosions, Rahimi said. The following explosions did not produce any injuries, the spokesman said.
The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack in a statement to the media released by the group’s spokesman, Zabiullah Mojahid.
The explosion occurred in a basement meeting room of the Dashte Darchi cultural center in west Kabul, according to journalist Ehsanullah Amiri, who was at the scene.
A crowd of fewer than 100 people were meeting to commemorate the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Amiri said. The bomber infiltrated the crowd before detonating a device. The two other devices, described by Amiri as IEDs, were also in the building and went off shortly after the first explosion.
Ambulances and police vehicles ferried the dead and wounded to nearby pubic and private hospitals, he told CNN. Security forces cordoned off the site and blocked the main road approaching the scene. Authorities also warned onlookers to stay away from the site of the explosion.
The building also housed a Shia mosque, locals told Amiri.
Both the Afghan capital and the wider country are beset with attacks on its military, police and civilian populations.
Earlier this week at least 10 people were killed after a suicide attacker detonated a bomb in an attack claimed by ISIS.
The attack Monday took place near an office of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) close to Abdulhaq Square, said Nasrat Rahimi, deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry. He said the attacker was targeting the NDS office. The NDS office is near the US Embassy, along with several other diplomatic missions.
A number of other attacks have targeted the city in recent months:
October 20: Dozens of Afghans were killed in two mosque attacks, claimed by ISIS.
October 21: A suicide bombing near a military academy took another 15 lives, claimed by the Taliban.
October 17: At least 41 soldiers were killed in an attack on their base in eastern Afghanistan, claimed by the Taliban.
September 13: A suicide bomber killed three people in a blast outside a cricket stadium in Kabul.
August 25: 20 people killed in an attack on a Shiite mosque, for which ISIS claims responsibility.
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