About 43 people have been killed following an hours-long gun and bomb attack on a Kabul government compound.
Officials said Tuesday that the attack which is one of the deadliest assaults on the Afghan capital this year has left dozens injured.
No militant group has claimed responsibility for the raid, which caps a bloody year for Afghanistan as long-suffering civilians and security forces are slaughtered in record numbers.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told AFP the attack had “nothing to do with the militants”.
Another 27 people were wounded in Monday’s massacre on a site where the Ministry of Public Works and an office that handles pensions and benefits for war veterans are located, health ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh said.
Gunmen stormed the compound mid-afternoon after detonating two car bombs at the main entrance, which is opposite residential apartment blocks.
As they entered two buildings belonging to the Ministry of Public Works and the organisation responsible for supporting war veterans and their families, terrified workers ran for their lives. Some jumped from windows several floors up to escape the militants.
The blasts may have been decoys, according to witnesses who told AFP they saw several militants enter the compound through a back gate.
Hundreds were trapped inside for hours as heavily armed security forces swarmed the area, engaging the attackers in a fierce gun battle punctuated by multiple explosions.
Public works ministry employee Amdullah Barekzai hid under his desk for five hours, listening to gunfire and blasts inside his building.
“When the security forces took us from the office, I saw many bodies covered in blood, lying in the corridors,” Barekzai told AFP.
At least four militants were killed and more than 350 people freed, officials said. Most of the dead and wounded were civilians, who have borne the brunt of the 17-year war.
“It was a barbaric attack against humanity,” interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish told reporters.
– Taliban blamed – It was the deadliest assault in the Afghan capital since a suicide bomber blew himself up in the middle of a religious gathering last month, killing at least 55 people.
President Ashraf Ghani, whose government has been skewered over its security failures, said “terrorists attack civilian targets to hide their defeat on the battleground”.
Afghanistan’s de facto prime minister Abdullah Abdullah also sounded a defiant note as he blamed the Taliban for the attack.
“Every attack they carry out against our people, our resolve is further strengthened to eliminate them,” he said.
But their statements belie the grim reality on the battlefield where the Taliban have the upper hand.
Afghanistan’s largest militant group has made significant territorial gains this year as its fighters inflict record casualties on government forces.
– US staying the course? – The raid followed a tumultuous few days in Afghanistan where officials are reeling from US President Donald Trump’s plan to slash troop numbers, which many fear could harm efforts to end the conflict with the Taliban.
It also comes after a major security shake-up in Kabul that has placed staunch anti-Taliban and -Pakistan veterans in charge of the police and military.
While there has been no official announcement of a US drawdown, the mere suggestion of the United States reducing its military presence has rattled the Afghan capital and potentially undermined peace efforts.
General Scott Miller, the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, said Sunday he had not received orders to pull forces out of the country.
Trump’s decision apparently came Tuesday as US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with the Taliban in Abu Dhabi, part of efforts to bring the militants to the negotiating table with Kabul.
Many Afghans are worried that Ghani’s fragile unity government would collapse if US troops pulled out, enabling the Taliban to sweep back into power and potentially sparking another bloody civil war.
At least 30 people were killed and dozens injured in a suicide bomb attack on a polling station as millions of Pakistanis voted in a nationwide election Wednesday.
“(The bomber) was trying to enter the polling station. When police tried to stop him he blew himself up,” a local administration official in the southwestern city of Quetta, Hashim Ghilzai, told AFP.
Dr Wasim Baig, the spokesman for the Sandeman Provincial Hospital in Quetta, said the death toll had risen to 30 after two people died of their injuries. Earlier, officials had said 28 people were killed and more than 30 injured.
The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group through its official Amaq news agency. It was IS’s latest assault on Balochistan, Pakistan’s poorest and most restive province which struggles with multiple Islamist and separatist insurgencies.
The province suffered the brunt of a series of attacks that killed more than 180 people across Pakistan during the brief but acrimonious election campaign, including a blast in Mastung district also claimed by IS which killed 153 people including local politician Siraj Raisani.
He was one of three election candidates killed by militant attacks during the election campaign.
An earlier attack in Balochistan on Wednesday left one policeman dead and three wounded when a hand grenade was thrown at a polling station in the village of Koshk, in Khuzdar district.
The military has stationed over 370,000 personnel nationwide to ensure security, bolstered by 450,000 police.
Israel’s military carried out an air raid overnight against an underground Hamas facility in the Gaza Strip and destroyed a separate tunnel under construction that could be used for attacks, it said Sunday.
No casualties were reported in either operation, which came after an explosive device was detonated near the Gaza border with Israel, the latest in a string of such incidents.
Israel’s military said the operation to destroy the tunnel involved new technology it has been working on to detect them.
“Our policy is to act resolutely against any attempt to harm us and systematically eliminate the terror tunnel infrastructure, and we will continue doing so,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.
The new tunnel under construction by Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, was being dug to link up with an older one in the south of the Palestinian enclave, according to military spokesman Jonathan Conricus.
The new tunnel had not reached Israeli territory and was within several hundred metres of the border fence, near the Kerem Shalom goods crossing and in the area of the city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, he said.
Israel had been monitoring the work before the operation, said Conricus.
It was destroyed by filling it with an unspecified material and explosives were not used, he said, declining to elaborate further.
Israeli soldiers carried out the operation from the Israeli side of the border fence, he said.
Conricus also did not describe in more detail what he said was an underground facility struck in the air raid in the central Gaza Strip.
“It was a subterranean complex, a military complex,” he said.
Gaza resident Amal Malaka spoke of her fear as the strike was occurring.
“We heard the sound of shelling, the whole of the house shaking and the windows too,” she told AFP.
“My children were afraid and the girls fell down from the bed.”
Late Saturday, an explosive device went off in the northern Gaza Strip near Israel’s border fence, the army said in an earlier statement, with no casualties reported.
Israel had already retaliated once in the immediate aftermath of the explosion, with tanks targeting a Hamas observation post.
According to Palestinian sources, the tank fire slightly injured one person.
Two explosive devices were detonated Thursday along the border, which had already provoked Israeli attacks on Hamas positions.
On February 17, four Israeli soldiers were wounded by an improvised explosive device on the border, sparking intense military retaliation.
No group has claimed responsibility for the blasts, but Israel held Hamas responsible as the de facto power in the Palestinian enclave.
Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2014. The strip has been under an Israeli blockade for around a decade.
A suicide car bomb targeting a foreign forces convoy rocked eastern Kabul early Friday, killing at least one civilian and injuring four in an area where many expatriates reside, the Afghan interior ministry said.
Local media showed extensive damage to the facades of nearby houses, and witnesses reported a strong explosion. Security forces could be seen rushing to the scene as passers-by helped move the wounded.
A horse was also badly injured in the blast and had to be shot dead in the street, an AFP reporter at the scene said.
“Unfortunately around 9:00 am, a car bombing took place in (the) Qabil Bay area of Kabul. The target of the attack was a foreign forces convoy,” ministry spokesman Najib Danish told AFP, giving the toll and adding that police are investigating.
His deputy, Nasrat Rahimi, said it was not clear if there were foreign casualties following the blast.
No group immediately claimed the attack, which is the latest to hit Kabul, one of the deadliest places in Afghanistan for civilians as both the Taliban and the expanding Islamic State group step up their assaults on the city.
The bombing also comes just days after Afghan president Ashraf Ghani unveiled a plan for peace talks with the Taliban, including a proposal to eventually recognise them as a political party.
Ghani revealed his plans in a speech during international peace talks in Kabul this week that went better than expected, with officials in Washington daring to hold out hope that the longest war in US history may be heading to a negotiated settlement.
US ambassador in Kabul John R. Bass hailed Ghani’s “very courageous stand” and his “commitment to pursue a peaceful settlement through talks” after more than 16 years of conflict, as officials said the onus was now on the Taliban to respond.
Before Ghani’s speech, the militants had called for direct talks with the US. They have not yet offered a full response to the president’s proposal, but the apparent openness to negotiations on both sides has sparked cautious optimism.
More than 16,000 foreign troops are deployed in Afghanistan under the NATO mandate, mostly Americans who supervise Afghan forces and conduct counter-terrorism operations.
Since November, the US military has increased air raids against Taliban positions, training camps and heroin laboratories, which are an important source of revenue for the group.
Despite the optimism, Kabul remains on high alert, fearing further violence. American officials are also braced for more fighting in spring.
Since mid-January, militants have stormed a luxury hotel, bombed a crowded street, raided a military compound and launched a suicide attack during morning rush hour in the capital, killing more than 130 people.
The government of Adamawa State has said people of the state should assist security operatives by providing necessary information, promising to pay bills of the victims of Mubi Mosque attack.
Governor Mohammed Jibrilla made this promise during his visit to the victims of a bomb blast which occurred in a mosque in the early hours of Tuesday in Mubi, when Muslim faithfuls were observing their morning prayers.
Governor Jibrilla who was out of the state on official duty when the explosion took place sent a delegation of the Adamawa State government including security officers led by Deputy Governor Martins Babale to assess the extent of damage as a result of the explosion and to commiserate with those affected by the blast.
Babale describes the attack as barbaric, despicable and unfortunate. He promised that the state government will foot the medical bills of victims of the blast.
“We want to appeal to the people of Mubi to be very patient, calm and to take heart. The next thing is to ensure that we have security arrangement properly in place, especially when people are entering the mosque. They should be screened properly. Even in churches and all public places,” he said.
The Senator representing Adamawa North in the National Assembly, Senator Binta Masi says the area has suffered several attacks by the Boko Haram terrorists and there is a need for the Federal government to beef up security in the area.
Mubi is the hometown of Governor Jibrilla which is 270 km away from the state capital. This is the first incidence in three years since Mubi was liberated from Boko Haram terrorists who had occupied the town and hoisted it’s flag, declaring it a Boko Haram caliphate.
Normalcy has however returned to the town as security agencies are on red alert and residents are returning to their normal businesses.
A suicide attack has occurred in a mosque in Mubi, Adamawa State, North-East Nigeria, leaving several persons dead and many others injured.
Channels Television gathered that the attack occurred in the early hours of Tuesday, November 21, while worshippers were holding prayers.
Not less than 21 persons were feared dead while about 35 others were injured following an explosion in a mosque in Mubi, Adamawa State, North-East Nigeria.
READ ALSO: Over 20 Killed In Fresh Adamawa Fulani/Farmers Clash
The Northeast Zonal Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency, Bashir Idris told Channels Television that the blast occurred in the early hours of Tuesday while worshippers were holding prayers.
It will be recalled that some gunmen suspected to be herdsmen attacked Koh community in Girei Local Government Area of Adamawa State, last week Sunday, November 12, killing one person.
The attackers invaded the village at about 11.30 pm shooting sporadically into the air and sending the people fleeing in different directions.
The Adamawa State Government also earlier this month sent a delegation to Gulak, the Madagali Local Government Area of the state to assess and commiserate with the people over an attack on their community by the Boko Haram terrorists. The team was received by the Chairman of Madagali Local Government Council Mohammed Yusuf and security operatives led by the head of the military in Gulak Major Abdulkarim Musa.
At least 276 people have been killed and 300 injured by a massive truck bomb that tore through a busy shopping district of Mogadishu, the government said Monday, making it the deadliest attack ever to hit conflict-torn Somalia.
Desperate residents of the capital searched for news of missing relatives after the monster explosion on Saturday afternoon destroyed several nearby buildings, leaving victims burned beyond recognition.
“Somalia Federal government confirmed that 276 people were killed in the blast… and 300 wounded were admitted at the different hospitals in Mogadishu,” the country’s ministry of information said.
“There is still a national rescue operation” underway, the ministry said in a statement, adding that there would be “national mourning and prayers for the victims” in the coming days.
Police official Ibrahim Mohamed told AFP that many of the victims were “burned beyond recognition” in what he described as “the deadliest attack ever.”
The government statement said an emergency centre had been set up in the capital for people to seek information abut their loved ones.
“It has been more than 24 hours now and we don’t have any traces or information about the sister of my friend, we can assume she is dead with her flesh somewhere amongst the horribly burned dead bodies,” said Abdulahi Nuradin, who was helping in the search.
“We went to several hospitals to seek any information but no to avail, the family is now 99 percent convinced she is dead, I saw so many severed pieces of human flesh at the hospitals, you cannot even look at them,” he added.
– Worst attack –
There has been no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Shabaab, a militant group aligned with Al-Qaeda, carries out regular suicide bombings in Mogadishu in its bid to overthrow Somalia’s internationally-backed government.
In February a suicide car bomb in a market left 39 dead shortly after Shabaab fighters threatened a “vicious war” against the newly elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, widely known as Farmajo.
Saturday’s blast, the worst in Somalia’s history, came six years after Shabaab militants were pushed out of Mogadishu by the African Union and Somali troops.
While they were also pushed out of major towns across southern Somalia the militants still control rural areas and launch attacks on military, government and civilian targets in Somalia, as well as terrorist raids in neighbouring Kenya.
“This is the most painful incident I can remember,” the deputy speaker of the Somali Senate Abshir Ahmed said in a Facebook post after visiting the Medina hospital where many of the victims had been taken.
Saturday’s blast was widely condemned, including by the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Turkey and the African Union.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Ankara was sending planes “with medical supplies”, adding that the wounded would be flown to Turkey and treated there. The country is a leading donor and investor in Somalia.
– ‘Targeting innocent people’ –
Farmajo declared three days of mourning as he visited the attack site and then met with some of the wounded at a nearby hospital.
“Today’s incident was a horrible attack carried out by Al-Shabaab against innocent civilians that was not aimed at specific Somali government targets,” he said in a televised address to the nation.
“This shows how these violent elements are ruthlessly and indiscriminately targeting innocent people.”
Mogadishu’s mayor Tabid Abdi Mohamed also visited those wounded in the blast and said the horror of the attack was “unspeakable”.
“There is no tragedy worse than when someone comes to the dead body of their relative and cannot recognise them.”
Hundreds of people, chanting anti-violence slogans and wearing red or white bandanas around their heads in a show of grief, took to the streets of Mogadishu on Sunday to condemn the deadly attack that has shocked Somalians.
“We have seen what the terrorists can mercilessly do by shedding the blood of innocent civilians,” the mayor told the protesters after they ended their march at a square in southern Mogadishu. “We need to stand united against them”.
Activist Abukar Sheik added: “There is no house in which people are not crying today.”
The explosion occurred at a junction in Hodan, a bustling commercial district which has many shops, hotels and businesses in the city’s northwest.
The devastation caused was widespread. Muhidin Ali, a Mogadishu resident who was close by at the time said it was, “the biggest blast I have ever witnessed, it destroyed the whole area.”
Security officials said hundreds of people had been in the area at the time of the blast, with police saying it was difficult to get a precise number of victims because the bodies had been taken to different medical centres while others had been taken directly by their relatives for burial.
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani wrote on Twitter that the country’s embassy had been badly damaged in the blast and one of its top officials wounded.
The Borno State Police Command has confirmed the death of 10 persons following separate attacks by suspected Boko Haram terrorists on two villages in the state.
According to the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Isuku Victor, the attacks were carried out late on Sunday and on Monday morning.
“Yesterday (September 17), at about 2230hrs, some suspects, reasonably believed to be Boko Haram terrorists, attacked Kurumari village which is about 14km east of Magumeri town in Magumeri LGA,” he said in a statement.
“Today (September 18), at about 1050hrs, two males and a female suicide bomber, carried out coordinated suicide bomb attacks at different locations in Mashemari village in Konduga LGA.”
Mr Victor said four persons, including the Imam of Kurumari village, were reported killed during the attack.
In Mashemari village where coordinate bomb attacks were carried out, he said the first explosion occurred when there were sounds of sporadic shooting on a farm.
“In the ensuing stampede, the first bomber detonated while the other two bombers detonated within the village and close to the house of the village Head (Bulama),” he added.
The Command’s spokesman said 10 persons – excluding the three suicide bombers – died in the three explosions and 16 persons sustained injuries.
He said the injured persons have been evacuated to the General Hospital in Konduga, while normalcy has been restored in the villages as Police EOD and SARS teams were mobilised to the scene.
Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, has confirmed the death of one of the 18 injured victims of an explosion in Maiduguri.
Governor Shettima revealed this to reporters on Sunday after visiting the wounded persons who are receiving treatment at the Maiduguri specialist hospital.
“There is ongoing counter-insurgency operation in the Sambisa forest and literally we have to anticipate these lunatics coming down to this terrain.
“We’ll meet with security personnel, management of markets and the civilian JTF to come up with a roadmap on how to really reinforce the security in the markets and take proactive measures to forestall future occurrences.
“They did a very good job, about 18 people sustained injury but we lost only a single soul (and) we don’t even want to lose a single person going forward,” the governor said.
Four of the injured persons are said to be in stable condition while the rest are in critical condition.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said the explosion was carried out by two suicide bombers, a male and a female near the popular Monday Market in the Borno State capital, northeast Nigeria.
Following the incident, Borno State government has called for an emergency meeting with the management of all markets within the Maiduguri metropolis.
Meanwhile, Governor Shittima has ordered the reopening of the market for the day’s business.