Kabul, Afghanistan – A suicide car bombing tore through a U.S. convoy in Kabul on Thursday, killing at least 15 people including six Americans in a blast so powerful it rattled the other side of the Afghan capital.
A Muslim militant group claimed responsibility for the morning rush hour attack, saying it was carried out by a new suicide unit formed in response to reports that the U.S. plans to keep bases and troops in Afghanistan even after the 2014 deadline for the end of the foreign combat mission.
The group, Hizb-e-Islami, said its fighters had stalked the Americans for a week to learn their routine before striking.
Two American soldiers were killed, as were four American civilian contractors with DynCorp International. DynCorp, a U.S. defense contractor based in Falls Church, Va., said its employees were working with U.S. forces training the Afghan military when the blast occurred.
Syrian troops push rebel forces back
Beirut – Syrian government troops on Thursday flushed out rebels who had stormed a prison compound in the northern city of Aleppo in a bid to free hundreds of political prisoners inside.
The forced retreat was the latest setback for fighters seeking to topple President Bashar Assad, whose forces have been gaining ground in the country’s civil war.
Seven kidnapped, militants suspected
Cairo – Suspected militants in Egypt’s Sinai abducted seven security personnel as they headed to Cairo for holidays early Thursday, security officials said. It was the first such kidnapping of security forces in the lawless peninsula.
The officials said masked gunmen ambushed two taxis at gunpoint outside the city of el-Arish, the capital of North Sinai governorate, fleeing with five policemen and one border guard captive. None of those abducted were in uniform, officials said.
Security in the Sinai has deteriorated sharply in the two years since the overthrow of longtime authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak, as it has elsewhere across the country.