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Female suicide bomber kills up to 12 in Afghanistan

September 18, 2012 |  6:33 am

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Up to 12 people were killed when a female suicide bomber rammed a car into a vanload of foreign aviation workers near Kabul's international airport early Tuesday, Afghan police said.

The powerful blast, on a busy stretch of roadway lined with wedding halls, wrecked the minivan that was carrying pilots and engineers to the airport, police said. Eight people were injured in the attack, officials said.

Aviation sources reported that foreigners aboard the minivan, who accounted for most of the victims, were believed to be South African nationals working for a private charter company.

Confusion about the number and nationality of those killed was blamed on the force of the explosion, which could be heard across the city and hurled the minivan about 150 feet. International troops rushed to the scene, cordoning off the area surrounding the charred hulk.

Unusually, the insurgent group Hezb-i-Islami claimed to have carried out the attack, and said on its website that the targets were "intelligence" operatives. Most such strikes in and around Kabul are blamed on the Taliban or an offshoot, the Haqqani network.

The suicide attack, the second major strike in the city this month, came amid tight security due to fear of violence in response to a crude anti-Islam film made in the United States. A violent protest on Monday left dozens of Kabul police injured, and most international organizations in the city have ordered foreign workers to stay out of public view.


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-- Laura King