- Image 1 of 3
- Image 2 of 3
- Image 3 of 3
KABUL, Afghanistan – The Latest on the deadly bombing of a mass demonstration by members of Afghanistan's ethnic Hazara minority in the capital, Kabul (all times local):
The Islamic State group is claiming responsibility for the deadly bombing of a protest march in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
A statement reported Saturday by the IS-Linked Aamaq online news agency said two IS militants detonated their explosive vests amid the crowds of minority ethnic Hazara demonstrators.
Hazaras are predominantly Shiite Muslims, and IS views all Shiites as apostates. Shortly before the IS statement, the Taliban's spokesman sent an email to The Associated Press denying any Taliban involvement in the blast
Witnesses in the Afghan capital Kabul say an explosion has struck a protest march by ethnic Hazaras. Casualties are feared.
The protesters Saturday were demanding that a major regional electric power line be routed through their impoverished home province.
Eyewitness Ramin Anwari described seeing up to eight bodies in the Demazang area, where protesters were preparing to set up a camp after a four-hour march. He had no further details.
One of the march organizers Laila Mohammadi said she arrived at the scene soon after the blast and saw "many dead and wounded people."
Seddiq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, says police were working to confirm initial reports of the blast.
Afghan authorities have closed off streets across the capital, Kabul, in preparation for a demonstration by ethnic Hazaras demanding a planned power line be rerouted through their poverty-stricken province.
Police have been moving trucks and containers into the city overnight Friday to block roads and prevent marchers reaching the city center or the presidential palace.
It is the second march against the current route of a multi-million-dollar regional electricity line. The last one in May attracted tens of thousands.
The so-called TUTAP line is backed by the Asian Development Bank with involvement of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The original plan routed the line through Bamiyan province, in the central highlands, where most of the country's Hazaras live.
That route was changed in 2013 by the previous Afghan government.