Kabul Blast: Death toll rises drastically

Kabul Blast: Death toll rises drastically

KABUL - A bomb hidden in an ambulance killed at least 17 people and wounded about 110 at a police checkpoint in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday, in an area near foreign embassies and government buildings, officials said.

A spokesman from the public health ministry said several people had been killed and at least 80 wounded in the blast, which came a week after a deadly attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in the city. “It is a massacre,” said Dejan Panic coordinator in Afghanistan for the Italian aid group Emergency, which runs a nearby trauma hospital. In a message on Twitter, the group said more than 50 wounded had been brought in to that hospital alone.

Mirwais Yasini, a member of parliament who was nearby when the explosion occurred, said the ambulance approached the checkpoint, close to an office of the High Peace Council and several foreign embassies, and blew up.

He said a number of people were lying on the ground.

A plume of grey smoke rose from the blast area in the city center and buildings hundreds of meters away were shaken by the force of the explosion.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the blast came after heightened security alerts following the Intercontinental Hotel attack. That attack, in which more than 20 people were killed, was claimed by the Taliban.