Babies killed as gunmen storm maternity ward

Babies killed as gunmen storm maternity ward2
A soldier carries a baby to safety after militants launched an attack. Source: AFP
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Daily US Times: At least two babies and 11 mothers and nurses have been killed in a hospital in the Afghan capital Kabul after gunmen stormed maternity ward.

Officials said, another 15 people, including a number of children, were injured when the incident happened on Tuesday morning.

Part of the hospital is run by the Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), an international medical charity, and some of those working there are foreigners.

In the east, meanwhile, an attack at a police funeral has killed at least 24 people.

Dozens more were injured in that bomb blast and casualty numbers in both attacks could rise. Who carried out either attack is not clear yet.

Locals heard two blasts and then gunfire in Kabul.

One doctor who fled during the assault, told the BBC about 180 people were in the hospital when the gunmen began their attack in the maternity ward. According to the doctor the gunfire took place at about 10:00 local time (05:30 GMT).

An official told that Afghan special forces have rescued 100 women and children, including three foreigners.

According to Reuters, the attackers gained access dressed as police officers, were all killed by security personnel after a battle lasting hours.

People help those injured during the attack on the funeral to a hospital. Source: EPA

Images from the scene of the attack showed soldiers carrying one newborn baby to safety, swaddled in a blood-stained blanket. It is not clear if the infant had been injured.

A maternity wing of the Dasht-e-Barchi Hospital is run by MSF. Many foreign staff live in a guesthouse behind the hospital building. A doctor who fled the building told that he saw an explosion there too.

The Taliban have denied involvement. The group had signed a withdrawal agreement with the United States more than two months ago.

The Islamic States has not yet published any statement. In the past, similar attacks on foreign and other civilians in this mostly Shia area of the capital have been attributed to that militant group. Afghan intelligence said, Islamic State’s leader in South Asia and the Far East was arrested in Kabul on Tuesday. Two other high profile members were also arrested with him.

IS gunmen disguised as medical staff attacked Kabul’s main military hospital in 2017, prompting widespread shock and anger and raising questions about security. The authorities later confirmed about 50 people had been killed.

Taliban also attacked hospitals previously. In the last September, 20 people died after a truck packed with explosives was detonated by militants from the group outside a hospital in southern Zabul province.