Two Britons killed in Kabul suicide attack on restaurant

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Media captionAn interior ministry spokesperson describes the scene

Two Britons were among 21 victims of a suicide attack at a restaurant in the Afghan capital, Kabul, the Foreign Office says.

Former soldier Simon Chase, from Co Londonderry, and Del Singh, Labour Party MEP candidate for the South East, were among 13 foreigners and eight Afghans killed.

A suicide bomber detonated explosives outside the restaurant on Friday.

Two gunmen then went inside and killed people inside "indiscriminately".

'Barbarous act'

The gunmen were shot dead, Afghan officials said.

Wabel Abdallah, the head of the IMF's Afghanistan office, was one of the victims - as were at least two private US citizens, the the US embassy in Kabul said on Twitter..

The area in which the attack took place - in the Wazir Akbar Khan neighbourhood - is home to a number of foreign embassies and organisations.

A Foreign Office spokesman confirmed the deaths and said it was ready to provide consular assistance to the families of the deceased.

Mr Singh - whose full name was Dhamender Singh Phangurha - was standing as an candidate in May's election for the European Parliament in the South East region.

He had previously been an advisor to the European Mission in Kosovo and had worked on UN and DFID-funded projects in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Libya, Nepal, and Palestine.

Ed Miliband, the leader of the Labour Party, said Mr Singh, who had "dedicated his life to working with people across the world who needed his support" had been killed in a "barbarous act of terror".

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Image caption Britons Del Singh and Simon Chase were killed in Friday's suicide attack in Kabul

"My thoughts - and the thoughts of the whole Labour Party - are with the family and friends of Del Singh who was killed in yesterday's tragic suicide bomb in Kabul," he said in a statement.

"People everywhere will be appalled and shocked by this barbarous act of terror deliberately targeting members of the international community living and working in Kabul in the service of the Afghan people."

The general secretary of the Labour Party, Iain McNichol, tweeted: "Saddened to hear Del Singh one of our MEP candidates has been killed in Kabul. Thoughts with his family."

The veteran MP, Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: "Really sad to hear of tragic death of Del Singh in Kabul. Decent man who did so much to support Palestinans."

Mr Chase was originally from Chester, but had been living in the County Londonderry town of Limavady with his partner and two children.

He is believed to have been working in Afghanistan as a security contractor for the EU police mission, Eupol.

The deputy mayor of Limavady, James McCorkell, said the former soldier was "very popular" and well known in the town.

"Everybody is just absolutely dumbfounded," he added. "We just can't get over what we're hearing."

Karl Åke Roghe, Eupol's Afghanistan Head of Mission, said it was the first time the mission had experienced a fatality.

"We are saddened and outraged by this atrocity and by the inhuman, vicious and wanton nature of the attack," he added.

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Image caption Afghan security forces investigate the aftermath of Friday's suicide attack

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned "in the strongest terms the horrific attack", his spokesman said.

"Such targeted attacks against civilians are completely unacceptable and are in flagrant breach of international humanitarian law. They must stop immediately," Mr Ban was quoted as saying.

The attack happened on a Friday evening when the Taverna du Liban restaurant would have been busy with diners.

The suicide attacker detonated his explosives outside the gate of the heavily-fortified restaurant, the Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Ayoub Salangi said.

Two gunmen then entered the restaurant and started "indiscriminately killing" people inside.

Mr Salangi said five women were among the dead.

The attackers were eventually shot dead by the security forces when they arrived at the scene.

The BBC's Mahfouz Zubaide heard the blast and gunfire from at least two kilometres away. He said the gunfire went on sporadically for about 10 minutes.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was aimed at foreign officials.

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