British Compound in Kabul Attacked; Israel Launches Air Strikes in Gaza
An Afghan security officer runs past British armoured vehicles at the site of a suicide attack and a clash at the British Council in Kabul on Friday. Photo by Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images.
Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked a British cultural center in Kabul Friday, killing eight Afghan policemen and at least two others, according to local authorities. The first explosion came from a vehicle on the grounds, followed by two subsequent explosions. According to witnesses, insurgents also fought with guns and RPGs from within the compound. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.
A spokesman for the British ambassador, all of the insurgents involved in the attack were killed. Prime Minister David Cameron called it a “vicious and cowardly attack.” He also phoned New Zealand’s prime minister to thank him for the role of New Zealand’s troops on the scene in defending the compound. One of those troops was believed to be among those killed.
The attack coincided with a national holiday celebrating Afghanistan’s independence from Britain in 1919.
Israel Launches Air Strikes in Gaza
Israel launched air strikes in Gaza targeting members of a group known as the Popular Resistance Committees, which it says is responsible for the attack on vehicles in southern Israel on Thursday near the border with Egypt. In return, Gaza-based militants reportedly fired 10 rockets into Israel.
The fighting comes amid concerns about security in the Sinai region, destabilized after the departure of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and fears over the stability of Egypt.
Attack on Pakistan Mosque Kills Dozens
A suicide bomber blew himself up during Friday midday prayers at a Sunni mosque in Ghundai in northwest Pakistan, killing at least 32 in a hall that was filling with hundreds of people. At least 50 people were wounded.
The attack took place in the Khyber region, a tribal area that is also a transit point for supplies bound for U.S. bases in Afghanistan. Oil tankers and convoys have been attacked in the area, posing a challenge for NATO in ferrying necessities into Afghanistan.
Indian Activist Launches Goes on Hunger Strike
Anna Hazare, a 74-year-old anti-corruption activist, was released from jail on Friday in New Delhi, where he was greeted by crowds of supporters before visiting a memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi and beginning a highly publicized hunger strike in a park in the city. His arrest Tuesday had prompted protests across the country and an online petition.
He began his hunger strike behind bars and had publicly stated his intention to continue when released. Hazare’s arrest spurred discussion within the government on designating an ombudsman to monitor corruption.
The Washington Post reports:
“Hazare’s movement has won many supporters from the young, urban middle class, who have used Facebook and Twitter to organize and express their views. But protesters in the past four days came from every walk of life. They included students, plumbers, retired army officers and bankers.”