Babies among 14 killed as gunmen attack maternity ward in Kabul
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Babies among 14 killed as gunmen attack maternity ward in Kabul

Gunmen stormed a maternity hospital in the western part of Kabul, setting off an hours-long shootout with the police and killing 14 people, including two newborn babies, their mothers and an unspecified number of nurses.

At least 14 people werekilled in the morning assault on the Barchi Hospital, officials said onTuesday.

Securityforces earlier cordoned off the area as they evacuated more than 80 women andinfants from the hospital, where medical charity Doctors Without Borders(Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) runs a maternity clinic.

The interior ministryspokesman, Tareq Arian, said 15 others, including women, men and children werewounded in the attack.

Threeforeign nationals were among those safely evacuated, he said, withoutelaborating. It was unclear why the maternity hospital in DashtiBarchi, a100-bed facility, was targeted – an attack Arian said was an "act againsthumanity and a war crime".

At least three attackerswearing police uniforms entered the hospital located in theDashtiBarchineighbourhood of Kabul, throwing grenades and shooting, officialssaid.

A paediatrician who fledthe hospital told AFP news agency he heard a loud explosion at the entrance ofthe building in DashtiBarchi, a neighbourhood that has seen past attacks by theISIL (ISIS) armed group.

"The hospital wasfull of patients and doctors, there was total panic inside," the doctorsaid, asking not to be named. The 100-bed government-run facility is supportedby MSF, said WahidullahMayar, a spokesman for the ministry of public health.

In the evening hours,husbands, fathers and family members of the hospital's patients gathered aroundthe hospital, desperate for news of their loved ones.

Another deadly bombing

In the suicide bombingin the eastern Nangarhar province, the attacker targeted the funeral in Khewadistrict of a local pro-government militia commander and former warlord who haddied of a heart attack on Monday night, said AttahullahKhogyani, spokesman forthe provincial governor.

Theinterior ministry said the final casualty toll included 24 killed and 68wounded. The wounded were brought to the Nangarhar provincial hospital, saidhospital spokesman GulzadaSangar. Khogyani added the dead included AbdullahLala Jan, a provincial council member, while his father Noor Agha, apolitician, was wounded in the attack.

Accordingto ZabihullahZemarai, another provincial council member, dozens of people,including, politicians, provincial council members and locals had gathered forthe funeral of ShaikhAkram, the militia commander.

Talibanspokesman ZabiullahMujahid tweeted the Taliban was not involved in the attack.The bomb was placed in a cart at a local market and remotely detonated, saidAdilHaidari, spokesman for the provincial police chief.

The ISIL, meanwhile, said 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 late Monday the agency arrested an ISIL leader in the region, Zia-ulHaq, also known as Shaikh Abu Omer al-Khorasani.

Courtesy: Al Jazeera

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