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Suicide bomber targets Lebanese restaurant in Kabul

Source: Reuters - Fri, 17 Jan 2014 16:26 GMT
Author: Reuters
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* Taliban claims responsibility, says dead are German

* No official confirmation of casualties (Adds Taliban claim, quotes, details)

By Jessica Donati and Mirwais Harooni

KABUL, Jan 17 (Reuters) - A suicide bomber blew himself up near a Lebanese restaurant frequented by foreigners in the Afghan capital Kabul on Friday and bursts of intense gunfire ensued, a Reuters witness and security sources said.

Islamist militant Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the attack in the Wazir Akbar Khan district, which houses many embassies and restaurants catering for expatriates, and said there were fatalities, all German, but gave no figures.

There was no official confirmation of casualties.

"First there was a suicide attack near a restaurant for foreigners where a man detonated his explosives attached to his body, and then possibly one or two insurgents entered the restaurant," a security source said.

Gunfire continued for about 20 minutes after the initial explosion and the main road leading to the area had been cordoned off. Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the situation was now under control but details were still sketchy.

"Two Afghans who were crossing the road are wounded but we do not have accurate reports if there were any casualties inside," he said. Another security source said that a diplomat might have been wounded in the attack.

Foreign forces are preparing to leave Afghanistan at the end of 2014 and President Hamid Karzai is deliberating over whether to allow some U.S. troops to stay to help his nation regain stability after years of war. (Writing by Maria Golovnina; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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