Kabul (Reuters): A bomb hidden in an ambulance killed at least 40 people and wounded about 110 at a police checkpoint in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday, in an area near foreign embassies and government buildings, officials said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast , a week after it claimed an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul in which more than 20 people were killed.

“It is a massacre,” said Dejan Panic coordinator in Afghanistan for the Italian aid group Emergency, which runs a nearby trauma hospital. In a message on Twitter, the group said more than 50 wounded had been brought in to that hospital alone.

A spokesman from the public health ministry said 17 dead and 110 wounded had been brought to city hospitals, and victims were still being brought in.

Mirwais Yasini, a member of parliament who was nearby when the explosion occurred, said the ambulance approached the checkpoint, close to an office of the High Peace Council and several foreign embassies, and blew up.

He said a number of people were lying on the ground. People helped walking wounded away as ambulances with sirens wailing inched their way through the traffic-clogged streets of the city center.

A plume of gray smoke rose from the blast area in the city center and buildings hundreds of meters away were shaken by the force of the explosion.