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Bomber Attacks International Red Cross's Afghan Compound
Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 4:27 pm
A coordinated attack has struck the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Gunmen reportedly assaulted the compound after a suicide bomber detonated a device at the entrance, where a guard was killed.
Update at 3:58 p.m. ET. Reaction From Red Cross:
"We condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms," ICRC's head of operations for South Asia, Jacques de Maio, says. "Right now, our thoughts go out to the family of our dead colleague."
The humanitarian group says it has about 1,800 staff working in 17 locations in Afghanistan.
Update at 1:15 p.m. ET. One Staff Member Also Wounded:
The ICRC now reports that "one of our guards was killed and one staff member (a foreigner) was slightly wounded."
An ICRC spokesman, Philippe Marc Stoll, tells NPR's Ramona Martinez that "the rest of the staff is well." He said 36 people worked at the offices.
Update at 12:55 p.m. ET. Staff Evacuated:
Police have evacuated six foreign nationals from the compound, the BBC reports, citing an interior ministry spokesman. Our original post continues:
After reports of the attack emerged, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said on Twitter, "We confirm that an incident just took place at our office in #Jalalabad, #Afghanistan. We'll provide more info later, once we know more."
The story is still developing, and few details have been released. But early reports agree that the suicide bomber wasn't alone, and that gunfire has been heard in the area.
"The initial reporting shows that two other people have entered the building," said Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a spokesman for the local provincial government, according to the AP. "Right now a gun battle is going on between the Afghan security forces and the attackers. We have reports of one guard of the guest house being killed as a result of the attack. From the battle we have no reports of other casualties."
The attack is the second on an international aid group in less than one week. On Friday, gunmen and a suicide bomber attacked the offices of the International Organization for Migration in Kabul.
The IOM says that three Afghans died in that attack, which also wounded three international staff.