3 killed in US consulate attack in Afghanistan

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At least three people were killed and 10 others injured early on Friday morning when a blast and ensuing firing hit the US consulate in Herat city, the provincial capital of western Afghan province of Herat.

“Militants numbered three or four armed with heavy weapons and suicide vests stormed the consulate building at around 0515 local time. They tried to enter to the facility and take control of the building. Gunfight is still going on there,” a source said.

He said one attacker and two security guards were killed and seven civilian passers-by were wounded in the incident so far in the city 640 km west of Kabul.

“The number of the casualties might go up,” he said. The blast also damaged the compound and several houses nearby.

Meanwhile, Gen Rahmatullah Safi, chief of police in Herat province, said an Afghan translator who apparently worked at the consulate died, while two police and two private Afghan security guards at the US post were injured. One police officer was caught under some rubble in the area, and it was not immediately clear if he was killed.

“An unclear number of civilians also were wounded,” Safi said. The governor put the number at seven.

The police chief, speaking around an hour after the attack started, said the situation had been brought under control, but that security forces were searching for any militants who might have escaped.

Qari Yousef Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Taliban, claimed responsibility on behalf of the militant group, which has often staged combined car bomb and gun attacks in the past.