KABUL: Gunmen storms in Afghanistan's largest military hospital dressed as doctors on Wednesday morning after their co-fighters detonated explosives at an entrance gate of the facility, killing more than 30 people in a six-hour attack. The attack has been claimed by the Islamic State group as it makes into the war battled country.
Around 70 others were injured in the assault on the Sardar Daud Khan hospital, with explosions and gunfire rattling Kabul's diplomatic district as dense clouds of smoke rose in the sky.
Medical staff at the hospital hiding in the re wards posted desperate messages for help on social media. Television footage showed some of them trapped on the ledge of a top-floor window.
"Attackers are inside the hospital. Pray for us," a hospital staff member staff member wrote on Facebook.
Officials at the hospital said three gunmen wearing white laboratory coats began shooting bullets after a suicide bomber on foot blew himself up at the backdoor sentence, sparking chaos inside the 400-bed -facility.
"I saw one of the attacker, armed with an AK-47 and dressed as a doctor, shooting at patients and guards on the third floor," hospital nurse Abdul Qabeer said.
"They shot my friend but I managed to flee... I had to jump over the barbed wire to escape"
Shortly, after the incident , President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attacks and started a clearance operation, which lasted several hours.
The attack ended at around 4pm Kabul time after the three attackers were gunned down by security forces.
"More than30 people were killed and around 70 wounded in today's attack," Defence Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said. "Most of the victims are patients, doctors and nurses."
Afghanistan's warring parties , including government forces, have repeatedly targeted medical facilities, decimating the country's fragile health system and preventing conflict displaced civilians from accessing life-saving attack.
"This is a criminal act. Nothing can justify an attack on hospitals," Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said of the latest attack.
"Will never forgive these criminals.Unfortunately, this attack has resulted in some casualties."
This is the second attack since last week, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the gates of an Afghan intelligence agency branch in eastern Kabul.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on his Twitter page rejected any involvement of the group in attack on the military hospital.
However, Daesh militants reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.