We stayed quiet and prayed: survivor tells of Kabul hospital attack | Reuters

By Mirwais Harooni | KABUL KABUL Patient Zia Zabuli was lucky to escape Wednesday's attack on a military hospital in central Kabul, which has been claimed by Islamic State.In hospital because of a leg wound, he and three others hid in a room and barricaded themselves in when they saw one of the gunmen approaching.'Together we put beds, chairs and whatever there was behind the door,' he told Reuters an hour or so after a prolonged battle ended in the late afternoon.From their hiding place, they heard gunfire and the sound of explosions from hand grenades as special forces troops battled the three militants.At one point, one of the assailants tried to break into the room where he was hiding.'He came up to our door and kicked it several times but it did not open. Then he left,' said Zabuli, who was still wearing his hospital pyjamas as he limped away from the scene supported by a relative.'We stayed quiet and prayed for our safety.'According to witnesses, the gunmen were already inside the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital in the Afghan capital when a suicide bomb went off outside, signalling the start of the carnage.

Reuters March 08, 2017 22:47:13 IST
We stayed quiet and prayed: survivor tells of Kabul hospital attack
| Reuters

We stayed quiet and prayed survivor tells of Kabul hospital attack
 Reuters

By Mirwais Harooni
| KABUL

KABUL Patient Zia Zabuli was lucky to escape Wednesday's attack on a military hospital in central Kabul, which has been claimed by Islamic State.In hospital because of a leg wound, he and three others hid in a room and barricaded themselves in when they saw one of the gunmen approaching."Together we put beds, chairs and whatever there was behind the door," he told Reuters an hour or so after a prolonged battle ended in the late afternoon.From their hiding place, they heard gunfire and the sound of explosions from hand grenades as special forces troops battled the three militants.At one point, one of the assailants tried to break into the room where he was hiding."He came up to our door and kicked it several times but it did not open. Then he left," said Zabuli, who was still wearing his hospital pyjamas as he limped away from the scene supported by a relative."We stayed quiet and prayed for our safety."According to witnesses, the gunmen were already inside the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital in the Afghan capital when a suicide bomb went off outside, signalling the start of the carnage.

At least 30 people were killed and dozens wounded by militants who wore medical coats to conceal their identities and weapons.It was the latest in a series of attacks against civilian and military targets in Afghanistan, and underlined the growing threat posed by insurgents pledging loyalty to the Middle East-based Islamic State.The group is opposed to the Western-backed government as well as to the main Afghan Taliban insurgency, which is larger and remains the main security concern for Afghan and NATO troops seeking to impose stability.

BODIES SIDE BY SIDE
When the blast went off at around 9 a.m. local time, doctor's assistant Ahmad Mahmoodi looked up and saw a gunman on the second floor of the main building shooting indiscriminately at the hospital entrance below.A security guard was killed and another person was shot in the arm."I was in the corridor and jumped inside the emergency ward and from one of its windows, I jumped out," he said.

Throughout the 400-bed complex, Afghanistan's largest military hospital, medical staff, patients and visitors scrambled for cover as the attackers went through the buildings.As Afghan special forces landed by helicopter on the roof of the hospital and the fighting raged, some people could be seen from outside the hospital crouching on window ledges.Ghulam Hazrat was with his wounded brother when the gunmen appeared and shot two other visitors. He jumped out of the building, but added: "My brother is inside."As night fell, scores of people gathered outside the hospital waiting for news of family members and friends.One man, who did not give his name, said he had received a telephone call from his brother, who was taking care of their wounded father when the attack happened."He told us that he was carrying our father on his back," he said. "Now my uncle who is inside the hospital has just called and told us both were martyred. He said their bodies were next to each other." (Writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.