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A suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Iraqi embassy in Kabul 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 wounded “slightly”.
There were conflicting reports about how the attack unfolded. 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 policeman was wounded slightly,” a ministry statement said.
An Afghan security official at the site of the attack and a number of witnesses however suggested the attackers were dropped by a car nearby, who then stormed the Iraqi embassy building with hails of bullets, before penetrating and detonating themselves inside.
Black smoke billowed into the air above the neighborhood 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 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 Afghanistan affiliate of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, according to a statement by its propaganda agency Amaq. It said two of its members attacked the embassy killing at least 27 guards and other embassy staff.
The militant group is known to often exaggerate its claims on the number of causalities inflicted. (AFP)