ISIS gunmen disguised as doctors kill 30 in Kabul hospital

Health officials said three dead and 54 wounded victims were taken to the Wazir Akbar Khan hospital in the same part of the city, which houses numerous diplomatic compounds, and that 12 more injured people were taken to the Emergency Hospital in an adjacent commercial district.

attack on the Sardar Daud Khan hospital, located near the U.S. The 9 a.m. Those attacks were claimed by the Taliban. Embassy and a major military base for the U.S-led coalition, followed a pair of similar attacks March 1 on a police station and an intelligence police facility in the Afghan capital, which left 23 people dead.

Television footage showed one Afghan military helicopter landing on the roof of the main compound and dropping reinforcements. Late into the afternoon, government forces were still locked in sporadic exchanges of fire inside the hospital.

Gunmen stormed the military hospital Wednesday in a neighbourhood in the Afghan capital that is also home to a number of embassies. Security forces block the main road to a military hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, March 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

On Tuesday night, an emergency alert sounded in the guarded diplomatic compound near the hospital, with a siren sounding and a voice repeating, "Incoming. Incoming." But Afghan security officials said Wednesday morning that it had been a test.

Military officials said most of the casualties were civilians. More than 50 people were reported wounded in the assault.

Most government officials and Afghan leaders attended the all-day ceremony, accompanied by large numbers of government and private armed guards, at the other end of the city, and the region near the military hospital was quiet and deserted just before the blast.
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Disagreements between Abdullah and Ghani have left the government divided and weakened.

A spokesman for the Taliban denied any role in the attack, but the Islamic State claimed responsibility through its online Amaq news agency. Regional groups claiming allegiance to the Islamic State, mainly based near the border with Pakistan, have claimed several bombings in Kabul in the past year, including one that killed 22 people outside the Supreme Court.

Attacking a hospital is an attack against the entire people of Afghanistan and against all the women of Afghanistan," he said. "All women must unanimously stand against such acts," he said. "A hospital is a place that is considered immune in any law, any religion and sect.

Military officials said the attack was quelled by about 4 p.m. A suicide bomber detonated explosives at the front gates, then gunmen opened fire on guards stationed inside the fortified medical compound. Several attackers were able to reach the second floor, where they fought police special forces much of the day.

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President Ashraf Ghani, who was speaking in his palace at a ceremony honoring International Women’s Day when the attack occurred, urged women to stand up to such attacks.

The new attack represents an embarrassment for Ghani and security officials. It came just days after the president replaced Kabul’s longtime police chief for failing to curb terrorist actions as well as rising criminal activities in the capital.

KABUL, Afghanistan – Gunmen disguised as doctors stormed a military hospital in the Afghan capital Wednesday morning, leaving at least 30 people dead and scores injured after a bombing and a six-hour gun battle. The assault was claimed by the Islamic State extremist group.
It was not clear whether any of the gunmen had already been hiding inside the facility, which mainly treats wounded military personnel. Security officials said the attackers were wearing white doctors’ uniforms, and one witness said he saw a man dressed in a doctor’s coat pull out a Kalashnikov assault rifle and open fire.

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He called it a "crime against humanity," adding: "The only solution is to keep unity. Our enemies are only able to carry out their goals when there is political discord." The government’s chief executive officer, Abdullah Abdullah, addressed the ceremony for Fahim shortly after the attack.

The capital was clogged and chaotic Wednesday morning, and many streets were already closed because of a public ceremony marking the third anniversary of the death of Afghanistan’s former army chief and anti-Soviet militia leader, Marshal Fahim Khan.

The hospital has been a target of previous terrorist attacks. Emergency and security vehicles had difficulty reaching the besieged hospital from other parts of Kabul, but wailing ambulances could be heard all morning, while army and police helicopters crisscrossed the skies.