Hundreds of ISIS-K militants have surrounded the Kabul airport and are expected to conduct more attacks, a source familiar with the situation told Fox News.
“Hundreds of ISIS-K in the vicinity, attacks likely to continue,” the source told Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich.
Twelve U.S. service members were killed and 15 were injured in explosions outside the Kabul airport Thursday, Pentagon officials said. [An unknown number of civilians also were killed and wounded in the blasts, USA Today reported.]
“It’s a hard day today,” Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, told reporters during a briefing. “Two suicide bombers assessed to have been ISIS fighters detonated in the vicinity of the Abbey Gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport and in the vicinity of the Baron hotel, which is immediately adjacent.”
“The attack on the Abbey Gate was followed by a number of ISIS gunmen who opened fire on civilians and military forces,” McKenzie said. “At this time, we know that 12 U.S. service members have been killed in the attack and 15 more service members have been injured.”
President Joe Biden was being briefed on the situation in Kabul, but had not released a public statement as of late Thursday afternoon.
Two explosions ripped through crowds outside the airport, where the U.S. and allies have been conducting a major evacuation operation. An Islamic State affiliate known as ISIS-K reportedly was responsible for the deadly attacks.
Afghan health officials estimated at least 30 to 40 confirmed fatalities as a result of the attacks, The New York Times reported. The officials spoke anonymously because the Taliban, which said 13 had been killed in the blasts, told the Afghan officials not to speak to the press.
“On behalf of the men and women of the Department of Defense, I express my deepest condolences to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed and wounded in Kabul today,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a public statement. “Terrorists took their lives at the very moment these troops were trying to save the lives of others.”
“[The] coming hours will remain extremely dangerous in Kabul and at the airport,” French President Emmanuel Macron said, CNN reported. “We are confronted with a very tense situation and we are coordinating with our American allies.”
Ross Wilson, the U.S. ambassador in Kabul, initially informed American Embassy staff that four Marines had been killed, an official with knowledge of the briefing told The Wall Street Journal. Officials later updated the figure, saying 10 U.S. service members had been killed, according to Fox News.
This report was updated within two hours of its original publication.
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