Suicide bomber attacks Kabul airport base

KABUL Tue Sep 8, 2009 2:07am EDT

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KABUL (Reuters) - A suicide car bomber detonated his explosives outside a NATO military base at the international airport in the Afghan capital on Tuesday killing at least one civilian, officials said.

Farid Raeed, an official at the Ministry of Health, said one civilian was killed in the blast and seven others had been brought to two hospitals in the capital.

A nearby shopkeeper who witnessed the blast told Reuters the suicide bomber had detonated his explosives close to one of the entrances of the military side of the airport.

"A suicide bomber in a 'Surf' car (off-road vehicle) exploded himself near the main gate (guarded) by Nepali guards. There was a (Toyota) Corolla car parked nearby and one person was injured inside," said Izmarai.

"Another man was riding his bicycle and fell to the ground. The police carried another wounded person away," he said.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, claimed responsibility for the blast, and said the target had been foreign soldiers at the airport.

A police official, who confirmed the blast had no immediate information on casualties, but a private television channel said there were a number of casualties among Afghans and foreign troops.

NATO, which runs the military side of airport, had no immediate comment.

Huge flames could be seen rising from the site of the blast and the wail of sirens could be heard several kilometers from the civil-military airport that has seen a series of Taliban rocket attacks and a suicide strike in the past.

Afghan officials running the civil section of the airport said domestic and foreign flights were not interrupted by the attack, part of the latest spell of rising violence in Afghanistan in recent years.

Tuesday's attack comes less than a month after a suicide car bomber detonated his explosives outside the sprawling NATO-led headquarters in Kabul, killing at least seven and wounding 100.

(Reporting Sayed Salahuddin, Akram Walizada and Hamid Shaliziz; writing by Jonathon Burch; editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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