11 dead in suicide attack on Indian mission
JALALABAD (PAN): At least 11 people, including eight civilians, were killed and 24 others wounded in a suicide attack on the Indian consulate in eastern Nangarhar province on Saturday, officials said.
A powerful blast, followed by intense gunfire, took place at the entrance to the heavily-fortified consulate in the Amir Shaheed Bagh area of Jalalabad at 10am, witnesses and police told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Security officials said the assailants fired their way into the heavily-fortified building after blowing up its main gate. Gunshots were heard in the locality for nearly an hour, they added. Three suicide bombers were among fatalities.
Nangarhar police chief, Brig. Gen. Muhammad Sharif, confirmed eight people were killed and 21 others injured in the suicide car bombing. Most of the victims were civilians.
But Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the governor’s spokesman, said nine civilians including children were killed and 23 others wounded. The bombers detonated their explosives-laden car before they could reach their target due to tight security arrangements.
As two of the assailants fired at security guards, the third detonated the car, Abdulzai said. All three were killed in the blast, which slightly injured a policeman on duty.
A mosque and dozens of shops and houses in the area were damaged, he said, adding security around the consulate had already been boosted on the basis of an intelligence tip.
Dr. Humayun Zahir, the director of Jalalabad Civil Hospital, said they had received six bodies and 22 injured from the site, where the Pakistani consulate is also located.
The attack happened when many people, including children and women, were queuing up for processing visa applications. The Pajhwok Afghan News correspondent counted eight bodies, including children and women, at the scene.
Nauman, giving a witness account, said the explosion shook the entire locality and shattered windowpanes in nearby homes. “The blasts were followed by gunshots,” he added.
Niamatullah, a shopkeeper in the locality, said five individuals approached him to help them find the location of Indian consulate. After a while, he heard loud blasts and a boom of gunfire.
A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said they were not behind the assault. Several shops in the area were damaged as a result of the blast.
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