Suicide Blast Inside Afghan Classroom Kills At Least 37

update: As we suggested, the death toll continues to climb, with the AP now reporting at least 37 among the dead, citing local Afghan authorities:

"At around 4 pm this afternoon, a suicide attacker who had strapped explosives to his body detonated himself inside the Mawoud education centre," police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said.

"In the explosion 37 people were killed, more than 40 injured," he said, adding that the "absolute majority" of them had been students.

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The death toll from a suicide bombing on a private school in Kabul has risen to 25, Afghanistan's Interior Ministry spokesman has confirmed. Ministry spokesman Najib Danish further says at least 35 people were wounded in Wednesday's afternoon attack on the school just as young men and women, recent high school graduates, were preparing for college entrance exams.

Mawoud Academy in Kabal was targeted while classes were underway. Image source: TOLO News

The suicide attack targeted a Shia neighborhood in Kabul after a spate of over a dozen recent attacks on the Afghan capital's chief religious minority group. 

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for prior attacks, but no statements from the terror group were immediately forthcoming, with a Taliban spokesmen denying that Afghanistan's most powerful Tribal Islamist movement was behind it. 

It was mostly students reported among the dead at the school, called Mawoud Academy, and the death toll could possibly climb as some early reports cited as many as 60 among the dead.

According to statements from local emergency personnel, Afghan security guards in the area responded with gunfire the moment the blast went off, working under the assumption that multiple attacks may be coming, but authorities have been able to confirm only one bomber involved. 

The attack comes as a resurgent Taliban has carried near-daily attacks against Afghan security forces in various parts of the country. The US and NATO-trained Afghan forces have struggled to push back the insurgency since a draw down of Western combat mission forces at the end of 2014.

Over the summer there's been several uneasy truces between the Taliban and the national government in Kabul, none of which has lasted more than days at a time.

The country's Shia population is commonly estimated to be around 10%, and possibly as high as 15 or 20% - the community is often targeted as heretics that have departed from dominant Sunni hardline interpretation.