Death toll from the latest Islamic State gun attack in Afghanistan rises to 24
Article RadarTHIS ARTICLE CONNECT:
- Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
Affected Countries: afghanistan;
The death toll from a gun attack at a hospital in Afghanistan where newborns, nurses and mothers were slaughtered, rose to 24 today.
The health ministry said today the dead included two newborn babies, along with mothers and nurses, after the three gunmen dressed as police officers stormed the maternity hospital in the Afghan capital of Kabul.
Deputy Health Minister Waheed Majroh said at least 24 people were killed in the attack and another 16 wounded. Authorities had earlier put the death toll at 14.
No group has so far claimed the attack, but President Ashraf Ghani blamed both the Taliban and the Islamic State group but singled out the former and ordered the military to switch tactics from ‘defensive to offensive’ when dealing with the insurgents.
The Taliban has responded by warning it is ‘fully prepared’ to counter Afghan forces.
The attackers were eventually killed in a lengthy clearance operation during which heavily armed Afghan security forces carried babies from the scene – at least one wrapped in a blood-soaked blanket.
On Wednesday, The families of about 15 babies whose mothers were killed are awaiting news on what will happen to the children, according to the New York Times.
Ghani also blamed the two groups for a suicide bombing in the country’s east after an attacker blew himself up in the middle of a funeral ceremony for a police commander in Nangarhar province.
Provincial health ministry spokesman Zaher Adel said 32 people were killed in the bomb attack and another 132 wounded. Officials had earlier said 24 mourners were killed. IS claimed the blast.
ISIS claimed another series of attacks in the Afghan capital on Monday and are suspected of being behind the attack at the maternity ward. They are yet to claim the slaughter.
The Taliban, which is due to enter into peace talks soon having signed an agreement with US forces in February, has denied involvement.
A third attack then struck Khost province after a bomb planted under a cart in a market killed a child and wounded 10 more. No group claimed responsibility.
However, ISIS did lay claim to a series of attacks across Kabul on Monday which wounded four civilians, including a child.
The near-daily attacks in Afghanistan are threatening to undermine a peace process which was due to begin after the US and Taliban signed a deal to end America’s longest-running conflict in February.
The attacks have also left Afghan authorities ill-prepared to face the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 4,900 cases of the virus have been detected in Afghanistan so far, while at least 127 have died from it.
Speaking about the hospital attack, Interior Ministry spokesman Tareq Arian said over 100 women and babies were evacuated before it was over.
Three foreign nationals were among those safely evacuated, he said, without elaborating.
It was unclear why the maternity hospital in Dashti Barchi, a 100-bed facility, was targeted – an attack Arian said was an ‘act against humanity and a war crime.’
Photos shared by the Interior Ministry during the Kabul attack show newborn babies and their mothers being carried out of the hospital by Afghan security forces.
Once the gunmen were dead, husbands, fathers and family members of patients gathered outside, desperate for news of their loved ones.
A man read out the names of those who had been evacuated to other hospitals.
Neighboring Pakistan condemned the Kabul attack, calling it an ‘inhuman and cowardly terrorist attack.’
The foreign ministry said both the Kabul hospital attack and the one on the funeral ‘are particularly despicable as they take place in the holy month of Ramadan and at a time when Afghanistan is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic.’
In the Nangarhar attack, the funeral was being held for a local pro-government militia commander and former warlord who had died of a heart attack on Monday.
The Interior Ministry said the final casualty toll included 24 killed and 68 wounded.
A government spokesman added that the dead included Abdullah Lala Jan, a provincial council member, while his father Noor Agha, a lawmaker, was wounded.
The attacks also come after Afghan intelligence services said they had captured IS leader Zia-ul Haq, also known as Shaikh Abu Omer Al-Khorasani, late Monday.
Source: Daily Mail