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Doctors flee as gunmen attack Afghan hospital

Doctors flee as gunmen attack Afghan hospital

Gunmen stormed a hospital Tuesday in an ongoing attack in the Afghan capital Kabul, a government official and a fleeing doctor said.

“Our special forces are in the area,” said Marwa Amini, a spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry.

A pediatrician who fled the hospital told AFP he heard a loud explosion at the entrance of the building.

“The hospital was full of patients and doctors; there was total panic inside,” he said, asking not to be named.

The hospital is in western Kabul, which is home to the capital’s minority Shiite Hazara community — a frequent target of Islamic State (IS) militants.

The humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders (MSF) supports maternity services at the hospital.

The attack comes just a day after four roadside bombs detonated in a northern district Kabul, wounding four civilians including a child.

The bombings were later claimed by the Islamic State group, according to the SITE intelligence group.

The group is also responsible for an infamous attack in March 2017 on one of the country’s largest hospitals, when IS gunmen disguised as doctors stormed the Kabul building and killed dozens.

In recent months the jihadist group has suffered mounting setbacks after being hunted by US and Afghan forces as well as Taliban offensives targeting their fighters, but it still retains the ability to launch major assaults on urban centres.

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