At least 80 evacuated after ‘number of attackers’ storm Kabul hospital

(CNN) — At least 80 patients were evacuated from a hospital in Kabul besieged by a “number of attackers” early on Tuesday, according to a spokesman for Afghanistan’s interior ministry.

Spokesman Tariq Arian said special forces on the scene were continuing their efforts to rescue all remaining patients and staff, and had already killed one attacker in a “clearing operation” which was still underway.

There is still no word on any casualties of the attack. An eyewitness near the scene earlier told CNN that they heard sporadic gunfire and that the attack appeared to be ongoing.

Special forces blocked the area after arriving on the scene, according to interior ministry spokeswoman Marwa Amini.

The hospital is located on the west side of the Afghan capital in police district 13, and includes both a general hospital comprising 100 beds, as well as a separate maternity facility.

This area in western Kabul is predominantly inhabited by the minority Shia Hazara community. CNN has reported on a number of attacks here in the past five years targeting Hazaras, including a suicide attack on a peaceful demonstration in 2016 that killed almost 100 people.

Another suicide attack in 2018 at a wrestling club killed at least 20. A suicide attack at a wedding hall in 2019 killed at least 63 Shias. All three previous attacks were claimed by ISIS.

The Taliban denied responsibility for the latest attack in a tweet sent by spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid relatively soon after it was reported. Afghan officials did not corroborate the denial and did not provide details about the perpetrators’ identities.

A recent series of attacks in the Afghan capital have been claimed by ISIS. On Monday, security forces said they had arrested three senior members of the terror group, according to Reuters.