At least four people have been killed in Kabul after a suicide bomber and gunmen attacked a mosque where worshippers had gathered for an important Shia holiday.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes after weeks of escalating violence that have turned this year’s holy month of Ramadan into one of the most violent periods in the Afghan capital since 2001.

Thursday’s attack began when a suicide bomber was prevented from entering al-Zahra mosque in western Kabul, prompting an exchange of fire with police, according to Najib Danish, a spokesman for the interior ministry.

The attacker detonated his explosives in a kitchen outside the prayer hall. Some reports said gunfire continued from other attackers after the blast.

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