A large suicide car blast killed at least 80 and wounded hundreds more in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Wednesday morning.
The powerful explosion rocked the city’s diplomatic quarter, destroying dozens of cars, littering the streets with debris and sending a huge plume of black smoke spiraling into the air.
At least 300 people were hurt in the massive explosion, sending scores to Kabul hospitals as the death toll was expected to increase.
“It was a car bomb near the German embassy, but there are several other important compounds and offices near there too. It is hard to say what the exact target is,” Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid told Reuters.
The NATO-led Resolute Support said the rush hour blast erupted outside the Green Zone just before 8:30 a.m., tearing into the German embassy’s facade.
Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, said some German employees were hurt in the attack outside the nation’s embassy and an Afghan guard was killed.
The area is one of Kabul’s most secure neighborhoods and is home to news bureaus and fortified foreign embassies for Canada, England, China, Turkey and Iran.
The blast killed BBC driver Mohammad Nazir and wounded four journalists with non-life threatening injuries while arriving to work, BBC World Service Director Francesca Unsworth said in a statement.
“Mohammed Nazir worked as a driver for the BBC Afghan Service for more than four years and was a popular colleague. He was in his late thirties and he leaves a young family,” Unsworth wrote.
Afghanistan’s TOLO News said the bombing killed a 22-year-old IT engineer with the news agency.
“It felt like an earthquake,” said Mohammad Hassan, 21, who was working at a bank when the blast erupted.
There was no immediately claim of responsibility for the suicide bombing.
A Taliban spokesman told Al Jazeera News that the terrorist group had nothing to do with the bombing despite prior attacks in Kabul.
With News Wire Services