Red Cross Attack In Afghanistan: Suicide Bombing Kills Guard, Insurgents Breach Office; Staff Rescued [PHOTOS, TWITTER & REPORT]

By Staff Reporter on May 29, 2013 12:01 PM EDT

Red Cross suicide bomb attack.
An image of rising smoke was captured over the Red Cross building as guards fight insurgents that breached the office following a suicide bomb attack. (Photo: Twitter/ @shahood83)

A suicide bomber attacked the gate of a guest house used by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) office in the city of Jalalabad in Afghanistan. The suicide attack occurred on Wednesday, reported Reuters. What's more, at last report, two more insurgents had entered the Red Cross office.

According to Reuters, Nangarhar province governor spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai reported that Afghan security forces defended the Red Cross building from the attackers. Black smoke was seen billowing over the building as heavy gunfire occurred inside.

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"The initial reporting shows that two other people have entered the building," Abulzai said. "Right now a gun battle is going on between the Afghan security forces and the attackers. We have reports of one guard of the guest house being killed at the gate as a result of the suicide bombing attack. From the battle we have no reports of other casualties."

The Geneva headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed the attacks and told Reuters there are six foreign members and dozens of local employees stationed at the Jalalabad Red Cross office. The Red Cross also confirmed the attack but had no other details. "We can confirm that there has been an attack on our offices in Jalalabad. We are working to find out the whereabouts and well-being of our colleagues," said communications coordinator Robin Waudo for the Red Cross in Afghanistan.

Later, the Associated Press reported that a senior Afghan official confirmed seven foreigners working for the International Red Cross have finally been rescued after an hour-long gun battle with insurgents. The Afghan security official also announced that at least two or three of the insurgents who made it inside the guest house were killed. Afghan forces are continuing their search of surrounding buildings for any surviving attackers.

The attack on the Red Cross office on Wednesday came less than a week after insurgents attacked the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) office in Kabul. Three civilians were killed and four foreign aid workers were injured. The Taliban claimed responsibility of the attack. The IOM assault also caused an hour-long street battle that wounded another 17 victims, including seven IOM staff.

No one has claimed responsibility of the attack and it is unclear as to why the Red Cross is targeted at all. The Red Cross only conducts humanitarian missions and also acts as a conduit for families to communicate with detainees, including from the Taliban.

Afghanistan continues to be a highly volatile nation as the Taliban and other militants have launched a new wave of attacks, including bombings and assassinations, around the country. The attacks are aimed to test the ability of the Afghan security forces as foreign forces will remove most of its troops by the end of 2014. The U.S.-led coalition is expected to hand over the security lead to the country's security forces as well.

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