KABUL — At least two local journalists and 20 other civilians were killed in twin blasts in a Shiite-dominated section of Afghanistan’s capital on Wednesday, officials said.

The attacks, part of a string of deadly strikes in Kabul in recent months, intensify concerns about deteriorating security in the city as the fragile U.S.-backed government bickers over power.

In the first attack in Kabul’s Dasht-e Barchi area, a suicide bomber fatally shot a guard of a gym at its gate and then blew himself up inside the facility, where spectators were watching a wrestling match.

Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said 20 people lost their lives in the attack.

AD

As police and residents evacuated the casualties, a second explosion, possibly a car bombing, occurred some distance away.

NAI, an Afghan group that promotes open media, said two local journalists were killed and four others were wounded in the second blast.

AD

Tolo News, an Afghan television network, confirmed that two of its reporters had lost their lives in the attack.

One of them had appeared on live television to report the attack on the gym.

The pattern of back-to-back attacks is a familiar one in Kabul. In April, eight Afghan journalists were killed when a second blast occurred at the site of an explosion in a high-security zone that houses embassies.

AD

Waheed Majroh, a spokesman for the Public Health Ministry, said 70 people were wounded in Wednesday’s attacks. Some of them were in critical condition, he said.

The Taliban denied any role in the strikes. No other group has taken responsibility, but sympathizers of the Islamic State, a Sunni militant group, claimed to have been behind the April attack and others targeting Shiite Muslims.

Hundreds of Shiites have been killed in Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan in recent years in attacks reminiscent of the brutal raids conducted by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

AD

On Wednesday, police cordoned off the site of the attacks as ambulances and firetrucks rushed to the scene.

AD

Witness Sayed Shrinaqa, 23, said he was about 100 yards from the site of the first blast when heard the “loud boom.” He rushed to the scene.

“We helped evacuate martyrs and the people who were wounded,” he said.

The second explosion occurred minutes later, after he had left the scene.

Reza Ahmadi, 26, another witness, said he was in a friend’s house behind the wrestling club when he heard “a horrific boom.”

“Everyone was scared,” he said.