— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) July 23, 2016
At least 29 people have been killed and 170 wounded in a ‘potential suicide bomb’ attack on a peaceful protest in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Thousands of members of the Afghan Hazara group were marching through the city in protest over plans for a controversial new power line when the blast hit, reports The Independent.
Local news has reported that a suicide bomber was behind the attack, however officials are yet to confirm the rumours.
The blast occurred in the Deh Mazang square – part of a large area of the city that had been sealed off for the protest – where protesters were preparing to set up camp after the four-hour march.
One of the march organisers, Laila Mohammadi, said she arrived at the scene soon after the blast and saw ‘many dead and wounded people’.
Conflicting reports suggest that there were three suicide bombers present at the rally.
The first detonated an explosives vest, the second was killed by police, while the third had a defective explosives vest. The fate of the third attacker is unknown, reports Russia Today.
Photos have emerged on social media showing bodies at the presumed site of explosion:
— Pajhwok Afghan News (@pajhwok) July 23, 2016
The Hazara demonstrators – considered one of the poorest of Afghanistan’s ethnic groups – were challenging plans for a 500kV power transmission line to be built from Turkmenistan to Kabul — crossing through areas with large Hazara communities.
Seddiq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said police were working to confirm initial reports of the blast.
Violence had been feared at what was the second demonstration by Hazaras over the power line issue.
Updates to follow.