- The hospital massacre began when three attackers stormed the hospital, hurling grenades and shooting at anyone.
- In another attack on the same day, a suicide bomber detonated explosives at a crowd gathered for the burial ceremony of a police officer.
- The Taliban has denied responsibility for either attack.
The death toll from the attack on a maternity hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan has risen to 24, including mothers, nurses and two infants. The deputy public health minister, Waheed Majroh, raised the death toll on Wednesday, adding that 16 people were injured from the attack.
The Interior Ministry had initially said that 16 people had died from the attack. Twenty-one babies were evacuated and taken to Ataturk Hospital in Kabul, and are said to be in stable condition. However, one who had a fractured bone was transferred to a children’s hospital.
The maternity wing of the hospital in Kabul is run by Doctors Without Borders, or Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF). The organization said in a statement that one woman gave birth as the gun battle continued, and that both mother and baby were doing well.
The hospital massacre began when three attackers stormed the hospital, hurling grenades and shooting at anyone. Locals said they heard two blasts, then gunfire. The interior ministry said that all the three attackers were killed by police, thereby ending the assault. The hospital’s neighborhood is home to a large community of Hazaras, a minority of the Shia Muslims who are prone to attacks by the Islamic State.
After the attack, soldiers were seen racing out of the hospital, carrying infants wrapped in blood-stained shawls to waiting ambulances. An image showed a woman dead on the floor holding on to her baby who miraculously survived and was taken to an ICU in another hospital.
Many of the residents who had the patients rushed to the scene of the attack ,and when they failed to locate their loved one,s they moved to the hospital where they were evacuated. Some of them were lucky to find their loved ones, while others were overcome with emotions having them
In another attack on the same day, a suicide bomber detonated explosives at a crowd gathered for the burial ceremony of a police officer, Sheikh Akram. Thirty-two people were killed, according to the provincial health ministry spokesperson, Zaher Adel. The authorities had earlier stated that 24 people had been killed in the attack. The Islamic State claimed the attack.
The Taliban has, however, denied being responsible for both attacks through its spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid. The Taliban is due to get into peace talks after having signed an agreement with the United States forces in February. The Islamic State and the Taliban are rivals.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attacks on innocent citizens, and ordered the resumption of a full attack against the Taliban and other militant groups. Ghani says they have refused to heed to calls of reducing the violence and embracing peace.
“In order to provide security for public places and to thwart the attacks and threats from the Taliban and other terror groups, I’m ordering Afgan security forces to switch from an active defense mode to an offensive and to resume their operations against the enemies,” the president said.