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Bomb Attack Kills At Least Eight Afghans Ahead Of Cease-Fire

Afghan officials say at least eight people were killed and dozens injured in a bomb attack in the eastern province of Logar on July 30, just hours before a three-day cease-fire was to begin for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

The suspected car bomb went off in the central Azadi (Liberty) Square in the provincial capital, Pol-e-Alam, which was packed with people shopping for Eid celebrations, according to local officials and eyewitnesses.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that all the victims were civilians, with women and children among the dead.

However, provincial police spokesman Shahpoor Ahmadzai said the attack targeted a police checkpoint and that there were security forces among the victims.

According to Ahmadzai, government forces had gathered in the city to prepare for security measures ahead of the Eid celebrations.

He said the civilian casualties were mainly in cars that had stopped at a checkpoint.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. The Taliban denied involvement.

The Afghan government and the Taliban have agreed on a three-day ceasefire starting on July 31, the first day of Eid in Afghanistan.

The cease-fire is slated to last for the duration of the festival, which marks the end of the annual hajj pilgrimage.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, dpa