Over 30 Killed as Gunmen Dressed as Doctors Raid Kabul Hospital
Gunmen dressed as doctors stormed Afghanistan's largest military hospital on Tuesday, killing more than 30 people in a six-hour attack claimed by the Islamic State group as it makes inroads into the war-battered country.
Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers descend from helicopter on a roof of a military hospital during gunfire and blast in Kabul on March 8, 2017. (Photo: Reuters)
Kabul: Gunmen dressed as doctors stormed Afghanistan's largest military hospital on Tuesday, killing more than 30 people in a six-hour attack claimed by the Islamic State group as it makes inroads into the war-battered country.
Around 50 others were wounded in the assault on the Sardar Daud Khan hospital, with explosions and gunfire rattling Kabul's diplomatic district as dense clouds of smoke rose in the sky.
Hospital administrators told AFP three gunmen wearing white laboratory coats began spraying bullets after a suicide bomber on foot blew himself up at the backdoor entrance, sparking chaos inside the 400-bed facility.
"I saw one of the attackers, armed with an AK-47 and dressed as a doctor, shooting at patients and guards on the third floor," hospital nurse Abdul Qadeer told AFP. "They shot my friend but I managed to flee... I had to jump over the barbed wire to escape."
The attackers were gunned down after special forces landed on the roof of the hospital in a military helicopter. "More than 30 people were killed and around 50 wounded in today's attack," defence ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri told AFP. "Most of the victims are patients, doctors and nurses."
Afghanistan's warring parties, including government forces, have repeatedly targeted medical facilities, decimating the country's fragile health system and preventing conflict-displaced civilians from accessing life-saving care. "This is a criminal act. Nothing can justify an attack on hospitals," Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said of the latest attack.
The more Taliban leaders said they were not behind the raid. The militant group, Afghanistan's largest, is known to distance itself from attacks on medical facilities or those that result in high civilian casualties.
The assault comes just a week after 16 people were killed in simultaneous Taliban suicide assaults on two security compounds in Kabul.
Dozens of others were wounded as a suicide car bomber struck an Afghan police precinct in western Kabul and a five-hour gun battle ensued after another attacker sneaked in. In the second attack last week, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the gates of an Afghan intelligence agency branch in eastern Kabul.
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