Kabul attack: Gun battle and suicide bombing in Afghan capital

Kabul attack: Gun battle and suicide bombing in Afghan capital

BY BBC NEWS/KORIR JUMA,31ST JULY 2017-Afghan security forces are battling gunmen following a suicide attack outside the Iraqi embassy in the capital, Kabul.

Four attackers targeted the complex in the central Shar-e-Naw neighbourhood, the Afghan interior ministry said.

A bomber blew himself up at the gate of the embassy, and three others entered the compound. No information has been provided about casualties.

So-called Islamic State (IS) said it carried out the attack.

Kabul has seen a number of deadly assaults this year blamed on either IS or the Taliban.

Correspondents say this is the first attack on the city’s Iraqi embassy. It comes two weeks celebrations were held there to mark the defeat of IS in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

All embassy employees were evacuated from the complex, the Afghan interior ministry said in a statement.

“Our forces are inside and a clearance operation is underway,” said spokesman Najib Danish.

Pictures on social media show black plumes of smoke rising into the sky.

According to the United Nations, Afghanistan has seen at least 1,662 civilian deaths in the first half of the year, with about 20% of those in the capital.

Last Monday a suicide car bomb killed at least 30 people in a mainly Shia district of Kabul. The Taliban said they carried out that attack.

On 31 May, a huge bombing in the centre of the city killed more than 150 people, the deadliest militant attack in the country since US-led forces ousted the Taliban from power in 2001.

The violence underlines the precarious security situation in Afghanistan as US President Donald Trump weighs up whether to increase the number of US troops aiding the military and police in the country.

IS announced the establishment of its Khorasan branch – an old name for Afghanistan and surrounding areas – in January 2015. It was the first time that IS had officially spread outside the Arab world.

The Iraqi embassy is located in a central neighbourhood that is also home to several hotels, banks and supermarkets


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