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Gunmen Attack Doctors Without Borders Maternity Clinic in Kabul, Eight Killed; Several Remain Trapped

Afghan women sit in an ambulance after being rescued by security forces during an attack and gunfire at a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Afghan women sit in an ambulance after being rescued by security forces during an attack and gunfire at a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday. (Reuters)

A suicide bomber also targeted a funeral in eastern Nangarhar province -- a hotbed of the Islamic State group -- on Tuesday, killing 10 people and wounding at least 30.

  • Agencies Kabul
  • Last Updated: May 12, 2020, 4:12 PM IST
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Gunmen attacked a hospital in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Tuesday where the international humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders runs a maternity clinic, killing at least eight people, officials said.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a suicide bomber targeted a funeral in eastern Nangarhar province -- a hotbed of the Islamic State group -- on Tuesday, killing 10 people and wounding at least 30.

Several people were wounded in the attack on Dasht-e-Barchi Hospital, according to a ministry of interior official, and dozens of people were being evacuated.

Some people remained trapped in the hospital and several doctors had leapt to an adjacent building after at least three attackers wearing police uniforms entered, throwing grenades and shooting, government officials said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the Taliban said they were not involved.

The 100-bed government-run facility is supported by Doctors Without Borders, which is also known by its French name Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), said Wahidullah Mayar, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health.

Security forces were working to counter the attack and 80 people, including women and children, had been evacuated, said interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian. The security forces had shot one attacker but clashes were going on, he said.

Deputy health minister Waheed Majroh said eight people including children had been wounded and taken to other hospitals.

MSF did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It says on its website it operates a maternity clinic at the hospital in one of Kabul's poorest neighbourhoods.

The neighbourhood is home to many members of Afghanistan's Hazara community, a mostly Shia Muslim minority that has been attacked by the Islamic State group in the past, including at a Kabul ceremony commemorating the death of one of its leaders in March.

Several bloody attacks in the capital in recent months have been claimed by Islamic State. On Monday, security forces said they had arrested three senior Islamic State members including a regional leader.

Last week, security forces killed and arrested several members of an Islamic State cell that authorities said was responsible for several attacks in Kabul including one on a Sikh temple in March.

In the attack in the eastern Nangarhar province, Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor, said the suicide bomber targeted a funeral ceremony in Khewa district for a local pro-government militia commander who had died of a heart attack on Monday night.

The bomber struck as mourners had gathered, killing at least 10 and wounding 30, Khogyani said. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid later tweeted that the Taliban were not involved in either the Kabul or the Nangarhar attack.

The IS, meanwhile, claimed it was behind a spate of attacks on Monday in Kabul when four bombs, one placed under a garbage bin and the other three by the roadside, went off in the northern part of the city, wounding four civilians, including a child.

The Afghan intelligence service said in a statement later Monday that the agency has arrested an IS leader in the region, Zia-ul Haq, also known as Shaikh Abu Omer Al-Khorasani.


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