Kabul: Bomb hidden in an ambulance; 40 killed, 140 injured
Kabul, Jan 27: A bomb hidden in an ambulance killed 40 people and wounded about 140 at a police checkpoint in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday, in an area near foreign embassies and government buildings, the ministry of public health said.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the blast, which came a week after an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul in which more than 20 people were killed.
“It is a massacre,” said Dejan Panic coordinator in Afghanistan for the Italian aid group Emergency, which runs a nearby trauma hospital. In a message on Twitter, the group said more than 50 wounded had been brought in to that hospital alone.
Mirwais Yasini, a member of parliament who was nearby when the explosion occurred, said the ambulance approached the checkpoint, close to an office of the High Peace Council and several foreign embassies, and blew up. He said a number of people were lying on the ground.
“The suicide bomber used an ambulance to pass through the checkpoints. He passed through the first checkpoint saying he was taking a patient to Jamuriate hospital and at the second checkpoint he was recognised and blew his explosive-laden car,” interior ministry deputy spokesman Nasrat Rahimi told AFP.
A plume of grey smoke rose from the blast area in the city centre and buildings hundreds of metres away were shaken by the force of the explosion.
The security alert issued to foreigners on Saturday morning warned that the Islamic State group, which has terrorised the city in recent months, was planning “to conduct aggressive attacks” on supermarkets, shops and hotels frequented by foreigners.