Afghanistan: Six Italian soldiers killed in Kabul blast

Kabul, 17 Sept. (AKI) - At least six Italian soldiers were killed and three others were seriously injured in a massive suicide attack in the centre of the Afghani capital, Kabul, on Thursday. The Italian defence ministry confirmed the casualties in the bomb blast which has reportedly been claimed by the Taliban.

It is the worst terrorist attack on Italian troops since Al-Qaeda killed 19 people in an attack on an Italian military base in Nassiriya, southern Iraq in 2003.

"The explosion took place near the US embassy. It was so loud it could be heard 2.5 kilometres away," unnamed sources in Kabul told Adnkronos International (AKI).

A dense plume of black smoke could be seen above the central diplomatic district the city where a fire raged after attack.

The blast destroyed houses and shops, according to eyewitnesses, and helicopters could be seen flying over the area.

The Italian soldiers were travelling in two armoured vehicles that were escorting personnel to the airport, the Italian defence ministry said.

Italy's lower house of parliament suspended its session "in a sign of mourning and of respect" for the soldiers killed in the Kabul bombing and their colleagues serving in Afghanistan.

Afghan civilians were said to be among the casualties and the numbers were expected to rise.

The 19 Italian victims of the 2003 Nassiriya attack included 12 Carabinieri police, five army soldiers and two civilians.


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