IS militants attack Iraqi Embassy in Kabul; all 4 killed
Kabul, Afghanistan - A suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Iraqi Embassy in Kabul on Monday and militants breached the compound, Afghan officials said, in a complex hours-long attack claimed by the Islamic State group.
All the attackers had been killed and the compound secured roughly four hours after the assault began, Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry said, adding that all embassy staff were safe and only one policeman was wounded ‘slightly’.
Earlier, black smoke billowed into the air above the neighbourhood in northwestern Kabul as the sound of gunfire, blasts and ambulance sirens could be heard. Panicked residents, including women and children, could be seen fleeing the area.
The Interior Ministry said at least four militants had attacked the embassy, beginning with a suicide bomber who detonated his vest at the compound entrance.
‘The quick-response police forces arrived in time and evacuated the Iraqi diplomats to safe place. No embassy staff have been harmed, only one police- man was wounded slightly’, a ministry statement said.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry in Baghdad said the charge d’affairs was among those evacuated and that it was monitoring the situation with Afghan authorities, without giving further details.
The Islamic State’s propaganda agency Amaq released a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, saying two members ‘attacked the Iraqi embassy building in the Afghan city of Kabul’.
The embassy is located in northwestern Kabul, in a neighbourhood that is home to several hotels and banks as well as large supermarkets and several police compounds.
“I heard a big blast followed by several explosions and small gunfire,” said Ahmad Ali, a nearby shopkeeper.
“People were worried and closed their shops to run for safety. The roads are still blocked by security forces.”
The attack is the latest to rock Kabul, which is regularly devastated by bomb blasts and militant assaults, often killing many civilians.
Afghan security forces at the site of the attack, outside the Iraqi Embassy, in Kabul on Monday