Babies and nurses among 24 killed in Afghan hospital attack

Bloodstains on the floor of a maternity ward after gunmen attacked a hospital in Kabul on May 12. (AP pic)

KABUL: The death toll in an attack on an Afghan hospital in which infants and nurses were killed has risen to 24, a health official said Wednesday.

Three gunmen stormed a maternity hospital in Kabul on Tuesday as parents brought infants and children for appointments.

The attackers were eventually killed in a lengthy clearance operation during which heavily armed Afghan security forces carried infants away from the scene — at least one wrapped in a blood-soaked blanket.

On Wednesday, Afghanistan’s Deputy Health Minister Waheed Majroh said at least 24 people were killed in the attack and another 16 wounded. The authorities had earlier said 14 people died.

No group has so far claimed the attack, but President Ashraf Ghani has blamed both the Taliban and the Islamic State group.

Ghani also blamed the two groups for a suicide bombing in the country’s restive east which happened shortly after the hospital assault.

The suicide attacker blew himself up in the middle of a funeral ceremony, killing at least 24 mourners.

The Islamic State claimed the bombing.

After the attacks Ghani ordered Afghan forces to resume strikes against the Taliban, which the militant group has vowed to counter.