At least 10 people, including nine foreigners, were killed Tuesday morning in the Afghan capital Kabul in a suicide bomber attack on a mini-bus believed to be transporting foreign aviation workers to the airport, news agencies reported citing officials.
Afghan insurgent group Hezb-e-Islami has claimed responsibility for the attack, Reuters reported, underscoring the growing outrage in Afghanistan over an anti-Islamic movie which has been creating ripples across the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Asia.
The large explosion, which hurled the mini-bus at least 50 meters away, took place on an avenue northwest of the city center near Kabul International Airport, AFP reported citing Kabul chief Gen. Mohammad Ayub Salangi.
Associated Press reported quoting an eyewitness that a small white sedan rammed into the mini-bus at 6.45 a.m.
Unconfirmed news reports say there were two Afghans among those killed, raising the death toll to 11. The foreign nationals were reportedly from a private company working at the airport.
The attack, second within a span of 10 days, has raised security concerns for Kabul, even as the U.S. military has suspended its joint operations with Afghan forces because of a collapse of trust after many U.S. soldiers were killed by Afghan security personnel.
On Sept. 8, a suicide bomber killed at least six people, most of them children, outside the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul which the Taliban claimed was in retaliation to the U.S. decision to blacklist its Haqqani network as a terrorist organization.
Zubair Sediqqi, a spokesman for Hezb-e-Islami, told Reuters that the bomber was a woman who blew herself up to protest the anti-Islamic movie.
The movie, "Innocence of Muslims," is a low-budget U.S. production that portrays Prophet Mohamed as a fraudster, womanizer and a child molester.
The Jalalabad road leading to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul witnessed violent scenes Monday when people protesting the movie started pelting stones at the policemen and Camp Phoenix, a U.S. military base along the road, while some set a police vehicle on fire, the Associated Press reported.
Some 20 policemen were injured with two police vehicles burned in the violence that involved about 300 Afghans, news reports said.