A suicide bomb attack Thursday outside the Abbey Gate at Kabul’s airport in Afghanistan killed 13 U.S. service members and injured at least 18 more, U.S. officials said – making it the deadliest day for U.S. troops in 10 years.
Officials told Fox News late Thursday that those killed included 10 Marines, two Army soldiers and a Navy corpsman, correcting earlier reports that 12 Marines were killed.
The suicide bomb attack was followed up by a firefight by Islamic State gunmen at the gate, where the night before there had been 5,000 Afghans and potentially some Americans seeking access to the airport to flee. Crowds had gathered for days seeking to escape the country, and there had been multiple warnings of a terror threat to the area – particularly from the Islamic State.
The Pentagon confirmed the initial explosion as well as a second attack at the Baron Hotel, where Americans have gathered in the past for rescue and evacuation. Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. said two suicide bombers were assessed to be ISIS fighters.
“The threat from ISIS is extremely real,” he said. “We believe it is their desire to continue those attacks, and we expect those attacks to continue, and we’re doing everything we can to prepare for those attacks.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a statement on the attacks.
“On behalf of the men and women of the Department of Defense, I express deepest condolences to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed and wounded in Kabul today,” he said. “Terrorists took their lives at the very moment these troops were trying to save the lives of others.”- READ MORE