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Ambulance packed with explosives blows up in Kabul, at least 40 killed, 140 injured

The blast took place in an area near foreign embassies and government buildings.

Ambulance packed with explosives blows up in Kabul, at least 40 killed, 140 injured
Representational image

A huge blast took place in Kabul on Saturday killing at least 40 people and injuring over 140 others. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the blast. An ambulance was reportedly packed with explosives which blew up at a police checkpoint in Kabul.

"The latest toll from Kabul hospitals stands at 40 martyred and 140 wounded," health ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh said.

A loud explosion was heard that shook the windows of buildings nearby, locals reportedly said. Photos shared on social media purportedly of the blast showed a huge plume of smoke rising into the sky.

"It is a massacre," said Dejan Panic coordinator in Afghanistan for the Italian aid group Emergency, which runs a nearby trauma hospital. 

The explosion happened in a crowded part of the city where the interior ministry, the European Union and the High Peace Council have offices. Kabul police headquarters is also in the vicinity of the blast.

"I can confirm an explosion happened near the old interior ministry building in Kabul," interior ministry deputy spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said. 

The explosion comes exactly a week after Taliban terrorists stormed a luxury hotel in Kabul, killing at least 22 people, the majority foreigners. 

A security alert issued to foreigners on Saturday morning warned that the Islamic State group, which has terrorised the city in recent months, was planning "to conduct aggressive attacks" on supermarkets, shops and hotels frequented by foreigners.