Kabul, May 12 (efe-epa).- A group of gunmen on Tuesday attacked a maternity clinic in a western Kabul hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, killing at least four civilians and setting off a hostage drama in which some 80 people were rescued, officials said.
Security forces rushed in to rescue newborns and mothers at the clinic in the Dasht-e-Barchi area of the Afghan capital after at least three gunmen detonated a bomb and opened fire in the 100-bed hospital, they said.
“So far, four civilians (have been) martyred and five others, including children injured. One of the attackers has been killed and the first floor of the hospital cleared. Rescue and clearance operation continue,” Interior ministry spokesperson Marwa Amini told EFE.
The hospital is located in an area mainly inhabited by the Hazaras, a minority Shia Muslim community.
Earlier, Feroz Bashari, the director of the Afghan government’s media and information center, said eight civilians including two children were wounded in the attack.
He said several ambulances were at the scene to help the people.
Interior ministry spokesperson Tariq Arian said police rescued over 80 civilians, including women and children.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF), a well-known international medical support non-profit, confirmed that it supported the facility under the attack.
“Our priority is the safety of our patients and staff. No more information at the moment,” an MSF official told EFE on the condition of anonymity.
The 24-hour maternal care hospital is described as the “only facility for emergency and complicated deliveries in a neighborhood of more than one million people” on the MSF website.
No insurgent group has claimed the attack so far. The Taliban denied any involvement.
“(The) attack in the Dashti Barchi area of Kabul city has no relation with the Mujahidin of Islamic Emirate (the Taliban),” the group’s spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted.
The Islamic State, another major militant group in the country, has carried out similar attacks in the past. EFE-EPA