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Suicide Bomber Hits French Cultural Center in Kabul

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KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide blast ripped through a packed screening of a documentary on violence at the French cultural center in the Afghan capital on Thursday, killing at least four people just hours after a separate bomber targeted an army bus. In a statement, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

A senior Kabul police official who declined to be named said at least four people were killed, among them foreigners, and 23 people were wounded in the attack inside the compound housing the cultural center and a high school — just a short distance away from the presidential palace. The suicide bomber appeared to be between 15 and 16 years old and detonated at the front of an auditorium, he added.

Twenty-two-year-old Mohsen was in the audience when he heard a "big explosion." "I jumped of my seat and do not remember how got to the hallway," he told NBC News, still shaking as he stood outside of the hospital where his injured friend was brought for treatment. Like many Afghans, he goes by just one name.

Earlier Thursday, a suicide bomber attacked a busload of Afghan army officers, killing at least five and injuring at least eight others, according to Afghanistan's defense ministry. The Taliban posted a Twitter message claiming responsibility for the attack.

The bombings are the latest in a spate of violence targeting the Afghan capital, with insurgents stepping up attacks amid the withdrawal of foreign combat troops from the country and the inauguration of a new president.

IN-DEPTH

— Fazul Rahim

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