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13 killed in Kabul restaurant attack

Kabul, Jan. 17 (Reuters): At least 13 people, including both Afghans and foreigners, were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up near a popular Lebanese restaurant in Kabul today, police said.

Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the attack in the Wazir Akbar Khan district, which hosts many embassies and restaurants catering for expatriates. “More than 13 people were killed, Afghan and foreigners,” said Mohammad Zahir, Kabul’s police chief, adding that the nationalities of the foreign casualties were not immediately clear.

A Taliban spokesman said that those killed were German nationals. In Berlin, the German foreign ministry said it could not confirm that Germans were involved.

The assault was carried out around dinner time in the heavily fortified district where many wealthy Afghans also live. Bursts of gunfire followed the attack.

“First there was a suicide attack near a restaurant for foreigners where a man detonated his explosives attached to his body, and then possibly one or two insurgents entered the restaurant,” one Afghan security source said.

Some officials suggested militants were still inside the venue but no gunfire could be heard more than an hour after the attack and it was unclear if any customers were still inside.

Hashmat Stanekzai, a spokesman for Kabul police, said an operation to clear the building was under way. “The clearance operation is still ongoing. Our security forces are not inside the restaurant yet,” he said.

 
 
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