Islamic State claims suicide attack on Kabul military hospital
(Update 3: changes dateline, headline; re-ledes with ISIS claim of responsibility)
Cairo, Nov 2 (EFE).- The Islamic State terrorist group on Tuesday evening claimed responsibility for the suicide attack with explosives on a military hospital in Kabul hours earlier that killed at least 25 people and wounded 40 after several hours of clashes.
“Five martyrs today launched themselves against a military hospital of the apostate Taliban militia in downtown Kabul,” said the jihadist organization in a statement released through its propaganda channels on Telegram, although Taliban authorities in Afghanistan said that there were seven attackers.
According to the IS version of events, the attack began when a terrorist detonated his suicide vest filled with explosives in front of the entrance to the Sardar Mohammad Daoud Khan Hospital, located in central Kabul, with a capacity for some 400 beds.
Then, another attacker killed the guard at the health center and took his rifle, after which “three other suicide attackers burst into the hospital building and attacked members of the Taliban with machineguns and hand grenades,” the terrorist group said.
Finally, the attackers took refuge in the building and opened fire on patrols that came to confront them, detonating a car bomb during those gun battles, the IS said.
“The clashes continued until the suicide fighters died after causing great damage to the soldiers of the tyranny, amounting to dozens of dead and injured,” said the IS.
Meanwhile, the Taliban said that two of the six terrorists were captured alive.
The hospital is the main military hospital in Kabul and is located just a short distance from the US Embassy and the Afghan Health Ministry building.
The Defense Ministry released a statement saying the attack was perpetrated by “a group of suicide bombers of the enemies of the Afghan people” at the Dawood Khan hospital, which was foiled due to the “swift reaction” of the Taliban forces.
A doctor working at the hospital told EFE on the condition of anonymity that the fighting lasted for several hours and most of the health personnel were now safe.
However, Taliban spokesman Bilal Karim said in a statement that five IS attackers were killed while trying to enter the hospital, and the situation was brought under control in “15 minutes.”
“No one was hurt inside the hospital, but outside the hospital three women, one child and three Mujahidins (Taliban fighters) were martyred and five others injured,” he said.
The IS has claimed responsibility for attacks in at least eight of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces since the Taliban took power on Aug. 15, and some of those attacks have resulted in dozens of dead, like the one on Aug. 26 staged against the Kabul airport that killed about 170 people, including 13 US military personnel, and two against Shiite mosques, one of which resulted in 80 deaths in Kunduz and the other in 60 in southern Kandahar province.
According to analysts, the IS has emerged as the biggest security threat to the Taliban government in Afghanistan, carrying out regular attacks against the new government.