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Islamic State claims Kabul attack that killed at least 61

The suicide attack targeted Afghanistan's Shiite Hazara minority, who had gathered in the thousands on Saturday for a protest against the route of an electrical line.

by Tess Owen
Jul 23 2016, 2:10pm

Hedayatullah Amid/EPA

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for an suicide attack in Kabul on Saturday which left at least 61 people dead and 207 injured.

"Two fighters from Islamic State detonated explosive belts at a gathering of Shiites in... the city of Kabul in Afghanistan," Islamic State's Amaq news agency said.

A local eyewitness reported that at least one of the attackers was disguised in woman's clothing. Photos and video of the aftermath of the attack show bloody body parts lying in the streets.

Related: More than 100 Islamic State fighters reported killed in Afghanistan

The attack targeted Afghanistan's Shiite Hazaras, a Muslim minority group who had gathered in thousands in Deh Mazang square to protest against a new power line which circumvented their communities.

Hazaras, a Persian speaking people who make up about 9 percent of the Afghan population, have historically faced discrimination and persecution in Afghanistan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani wrote in a statement that he was "deeply grieved" by the attack. "Peaceful protest is the right of every citizen" Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said in a statement, "but opportunist terrorists infiltrated the crowds and carried out the attack, killing and injuring a number of citizens including some security forces."

The Taliban has also condemned the attack, according to Afghan news agency Khaama Press. Zabiullah Mujahid, the group's spokesperson, described the attack as "grim" and added that the Taliban condemns any act that reinforces ethnic and religious divisions in Afghanistan.

Abdul Aleem contributed to this report.