Gunmen kill at least 15 in attack on Afghan government building in Jalalabad

Security forces swarmed the area as a plume of thick black smoke rose above the compound. (Reuters)
Updated 31 July 2018
0

Gunmen kill at least 15 in attack on Afghan government building in Jalalabad

  • Several people taken hostage by the attackers
  • Taliban deny involvement in the attack

JALALABAD, Afghanistan: A suicide bomb and gun attack by militants on an Afghan government building in Jalalabad on Tuesday killed at least 15 people, the latest in a series of assaults on the eastern city.
On the other side of the country a roadside bomb apparently intended for security forces hit a passenger bus and killed 11 people, marking yet another bloody day for civilians who have borne the brunt of violence in Afghanistan.
The attack in Jalalabad targeted the compound of the refugees and repatriations department. It ended after more than five hours of intense fighting between militants and security forces, said Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province.
At least 15 people were killed and the same number were wounded, Khogyani said.
Provincial health director Najibullah Kamawal said some of the dead were “burned beyond recognition.”
As the raid began with a suicide attacker blowing up a bomb-laden car at the entrance, local representatives of foreign donors and agencies were meeting department employees inside the building.
“All the partner agency representatives attending the meeting were Afghans and those who were stuck inside, including the director of the refugees and repatriations department, were rescued,” Khogyani said.
Several people were taken hostage by the attackers, said Zabiullah Zmarary, a provincial council member.
“I saw a black Corolla car drop three armed men at the gate of the refugees and repatriations department,” a witness told AFP.
Khogyani said the two attackers who stormed the compound were killed.
Security forces swarmed into the area, and a plume of thick black smoke rose into the sky above the compound.
The Taliban denied involvement in the incident in a WhatsApp message sent to journalists.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which comes three days after militants raided a midwife training center in Jalalabad.
The Daesh group claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack, which left at least three people dead and several wounded.
Jalalabad has been the scene of multiple attacks in recent months that have killed dozens, as US and Afghan forces continue offensives against militants.In the western province of Farah on Tuesday the bomb which hit the bus killed at least 11 people and wounded 31.
“It was a bomb planted by the Taliban to hit security forces but... it got a passenger bus,” Farah provincial police spokesman Muhibullah Muhib told AFP.
There was no immediate confirmation from the Taliban that they were responsible.
In a separate incident, 22 passengers traveling on a Kabul-bound bus in the eastern province of Paktia were kidnapped by gunmen on Monday night.
Officials blamed the Taliban for both incidents.
Most of the attacks in Jalalabad have been claimed by Daesh, which has a relatively small but potent presence in Afghanistan, mainly in the east and north.
It is not clear why the militants targeted the refugees and repatriations department, but government buildings are frequently hit.
On July 11 gunmen raided an education department compound in Jalalabad, sparking an hours-long battle with security forces.
At least 11 people were killed in that attack. All were employees of the education department branch and included the director.
A suicide bombing claimed by IS on a crowd of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus in Jalalabad on July 1 killed 19 people and wounded 21.
IS emerged in Afghanistan in 2014 and quickly established a stronghold in Nangarhar, which borders Pakistan.
Intensified aerial and ground operations against the militants have failed to dislodge them.


Two Eurofighters crash over eastern Germany, pilots eject: German Air Force

Updated 5 min 24 sec ago
0

Two Eurofighters crash over eastern Germany, pilots eject: German Air Force

BERLIN: Two Eurofighter warplanes crashed in northeastern Germany after a mid-air collision on Monday, the German air force said, adding that both pilots had managed to use their ejector seats.
The jets, belonging to the German armed forces, crashed near the Laage military base in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the air force added on its Twitter account.
“Together with a third Eurofighter they were flying an Air Combat Mission,” the German force tweeted. “The pilot of the third Eurofighter observed the collision and reported that two parachutes descended to the ground.”
Ostseewelle radio, which first reported the crash, posted a video https://www.ostseewelle.de/nachrichten/eurofighter-in-mueritzregion-kollidiert sent in by one of its readers which it said showed two plumes of smoke rising from separate crash sites at some distance from each other.
Focus magazine said one of the pilots of the Eurofighters — made by Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo — had been found living while the other was yet to be located.