Newborns among 13 dead after gunman storm maternity hospital

12 May 2020, 14:11

Soldiers stand guard at a maternity hospital in Kabul after gunman opened fire
Soldiers stand guard at a maternity hospital in Kabul after gunman opened fire. Picture: PA

By Ewan Somerville

Two newborn babies are among 13 killed after gunmen stormed a maternity hospital in Kabul.

The attack on the Afghan capital also left 11 mothers and nurses dead and a further 15 people - including children - were injured, officials said.

The 100-bed Dasht-e-Barchi hospital houses a maternity unit run by global health charity Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and some of the medics there are foreigners.

Locals heard two blasts followed by gunfire at around 10am local time (5.30am GMT) before at least three gunmen wearing police uniforms entered the hospital and opened fire and threw grenades.

At least 100 people, including mothers, nurses and foreign aid workers, were evacuated and the attackers were killed by security services after a battle lasting hours.

In photos from the scene soldiers were seen rushing a newborn baby to safety in a blood-stained blanket, but it is not known if the child was injured.

The Taliban has denied involvement.

Islamic State, which previously launched attacks in the Shia area of the capital where the hospital is based, has not yet commented.

It came after a separate attack on a funeral in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar on Tuesday which killed at least 24.

A bomb was reportedly detonated during the service, injuring a further 68 people.

Tens of thousands of people - many of them civilians - have been killed during 18 years of bloodshed involving the Taliban in the country, with many more displaced from their homes.

The US struck a peace deal with the Taliban in February but since talks have broken down over a prisoner swap, sparking further violence.