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19 killed, 50 wounded in deadly blasts near military hospital in Kabul

AT News

KABUL: Two deadly explosions rocked Kabul after a group of gunmen blew their way into a military hospital on Tuesday morning, killing at least 19 people and wounding 43 others.

Explosions were followed by gunfire in Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan military hospital in Kabul city, interior ministry sources have told media.

Reports say gunfire still continues at the site of the explosions.

Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate, told reporters that at least two blasts took place at the entrance of the 400-bed hospital in Kabul’s 10th district. Witnesses told Al Jazeera it was a car bomb.

“Security forces are deployed to the area, there is no information about casualties,” he said on Twitter.

Earlier, interior ministry spokesman Saeed Khosty said there were casualties in the blasts, but did not confirm the death toll.

Photographs shared by residents showed a plume of smoke after the blasts in the former diplomatic zone in the Wazir Akbar Khan area in central Kabul.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But the official Bakhtar News Agency quoted witnesses saying a number of fighters from an ISIS affiliate, entered the hospital and clashed with security forces. Al Jazeera, however, could not independently verify the report.

The blasts add to a growing list of attacks and killings since the Taliban completed its victory over the previous Western-backed government in August, undermining its claim to have restored security to Afghanistan after decades of war.

A health worker at the hospital, who managed to escape the site, said he heard a large explosion followed by a couple of minutes of gunfire. About 10 minutes later, there was a second, larger explosion, he said.

He said it was unclear whether the blasts and the gunfire were inside the sprawling hospital complex, the largest military hospital in Afghanistan.

Taliban Special Forces have since been sent to the scene, according to the interior ministry.

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