Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Newborn among 16 dead in Kabul hospital attack, 24 killed in funeral bombing in eastern Afghanistan

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Gunmen attacked a hospital in Kabul, the Afghan capital, where the international humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders operates a maternity unit, killing 16 people, including two newborns, officials said.

The attack began in the morning when at least three armed men in police uniforms entered Dasht-e-Barchi hospital, throwing grenades and shooting, government officials said.

According to the Interior Ministry, fifteen other people were injured in the attack, including mothers, nurses and children.

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Interior Ministry photos show two young children lying dead inside the hospital. The soldiers transported the infants out of the compound, some wrapped in blood-stained blankets.

Authorities said a total of 100 people were rescued, including three foreign nationals.

Security forces killed the attackers in the afternoon.

The 100-bed public hospital hosted a maternity hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, also known by its French name Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

MSF confirmed in a tweet that the hospital had been attacked and that staff and patients were evacuated.

Armed men stormed the Dasht-e-Barchi hospital in the western part of Kabul.((AP: Rahmat Gul)

Hours before the incident, the hospital tweeted a photo of a newborn baby at the clinic in his mother’s arms.

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The neighborhood is home to many members of the Hazara community of Afghanistan, a predominantly Shiite minority who have been attacked by Sunni IS militants in the past, including at a ceremony in Kabul commemorating the death of the one of its leaders in March.

The rights group Amnesty International condemned the two attacks.

“The inadmissible war crimes in Afghanistan today, aimed at motherhood and a funeral, must awaken the world to the horrors that civilians continue to face,” the group said on Twitter.

“There must be responsibility for these serious crimes.”

Separate attack triggers funeral

In a separate attack the same day, a suicide bomber struck the funeral of a police commander, in the presence of government officials and an MP, in the eastern Afghan province of Nangahar, killing at least 24 people and injuring 68, with the number of victims expected to increase.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for either attack.

The Taliban, the main Islamist insurgency group in Afghanistan which has declared that it has stopped attacks on cities as part of an agreement to withdraw American troops, has denied involvement in the two.

The Islamic State militant group operates in Nangahar and has carried out a number of large-scale attacks in Kabul in recent months.

Security forces arrested its regional chief in the capital on Monday.

Security forces killed and arrested several members of an Islamic State cell last week, which authorities say were responsible for several attacks in Kabul, including one against a Sikh temple in March.

A roadside explosion in the capital on Monday that injured four civilians was claimed by the group.

Reuters

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