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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

ISIS Attacks Military Hospital in Afghan Capital

An Afghan soldier stands guard near the biggest military hospital in Afghanistan after ISIS gunmen dressed as health workers began their attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Gunmen stormed a military hospital Wednesday in a neighborhood in the Afghan capital that is also home to a number of embassies.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Gunmen wearing white lab coats stormed a military hospital in Afghanistan’s capital on Wednesday, killing at least four people, wounding dozens and setting off clashes with security forces that were still underway hours later.

An Islamic State affiliate claimed the attack on the 400-bed military hospital, which is located near two civilian hospitals in Wazir Akbar Khan, Kabul’s heavily-guarded diplomatic quarter.

Health Ministry spokesman Ismail Kawasi said at least three bodies of civilians and more than 60 wounded people had been brought to nearby hospitals, adding that the toll was likely to rise as ambulances were still at the scene.

Gen. Dawlat Waziri, a Defense Ministry spokesman, said Afghan forces had battled the attackers floor by floor, and were carrying out a clearing operation on the 6th and 8th floors of the complex. The ministry said the attackers were dressed like health workers.

Waziri said a suicide bomber had detonated his payload and another attacker was shot dead, and that one member of the security forces was killed and three wounded.

Afghan helicopters circled over the area, which was surrounded by security forces.

Abdul Qadir, a hospital worker who witnessed the attack, said an attacker in a white coat shot at him and his colleagues. Ghulam Azrat, another survivor, said he escaped through a fourth floor window after attackers killed two of his friends.

ISIS claimed the attack in a statement carried by its Aamaq news agency.

An affiliate of the extremist group has carried out a number of attacks in Afghanistan in recent years, and has clashed with the more powerful and well-established Taliban, who carried out a complex attack in Kabul last week.

Afghan security forces have struggled to combat both groups since the U.S. and NATO formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, switching to an advisory and counterterrorism role.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack during an address in honor of International Women’s Day, calling it “an attack on all Afghan people and all Afghan women.”


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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