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Suicide Bomb Attack on Kabul Restaurant Kills at Least 13

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Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- At least 13 people, some of them foreigners, were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up near a Lebanese restaurant in Afghanistan, officials said.

The Taverna du Liban restaurant, which is frequented by foreigners, Afghan officials and business people, was targeted by a suicide bomber, said Kabul police chief Mohammad Zahir Zahir in a phone interview. At least 13 people including foreigners were killed, and four wounded, he said.

Some United Nations personnel may be among the dead, and the UN Mission in Afghanistan is verifying the status of all its personnel, it said in a statement. The Associated Press, citing Zahir, said the death toll had climbed to 16.

A single heavy explosion followed gunfire between Afghan security forces and militants. Two other militants were shot dead in the vicinity of the restaurant, said Zahir.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed claimed responsibility in an e-mailed statement, saying the attack targeted German and other foreign nationals dining in the restaurant.

The attack happened around 7:25 p.m. in the Wazir Akbar Khan district of the city, which houses embassies, foreign non-governmental organizations and the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, headquarters.

The explosion shattered windows of Norway’s and other nearby embassies in the same block as the restaurant, said Gul Agha, an eyewitness, in a phone interview.

The bombing was the third in the Afghan capital in less than two weeks. On Jan. 4, Taliban forces detonated a bomb near Camp Eagers, an American military base in the heart of Kabul, resulting in no casualties. On Jan. 12, a Taliban bomber on a bicycle blew himself up near an Afghan police convoy, wounding six policemen.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eltaf Najafizada in Kabul, Afghanistan at enajafizada1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at jwalcott9@bloomberg.net

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