KABUL (Reuters) - A big explosion followed by gunfire hit the center of Kabul late on Monday, hours after at least 24 people were killed in a suicide attack claimed by the Taliban in a crowded area of the city near the defense ministry.

There was no immediate word on the cause of the blast or on any casualties.

(This version of the story corrects the day of attack to Monday)

(Reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Angus MacSwan)