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Two Canadians killed in attack

Update: 

Two Canadians were among 16 people who died in a brutal suicide attack on Friday at a restaurant in the Afghanistan capital of Kabul, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird's office confirmed. There was no further information about the two Canadian victims. Baird's office said it could not release further information due to privacy concerns.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says four United Nations personnel have been killed in the "horrific attack".

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A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a Kabul restaurant filled with foreigners and affluent Afghans, while two gunmen snuck in through the back door and opened fire Friday in a brazen dinnertime attack that killed 16 people, officials said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility within an hour of the attack against La Taverna du Liban, part of a stepped-up campaign of violence against foreign and government interests to send a message that the militants are not going anywhere as the U.S.-led coalition winds down its combat mission at the end of the year. The bombing served as a reminder that although militant violence in the capital has dropped off in recent months, insurgents remain capable of carrying out attacks inside the most heavily guarded areas.

Security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information, said the assault began with the suicide bomber detonating his explosives at the front door of the restaurant, located in an area housing several embassies, non-governmental organizations and the homes and offices of Afghan officials. As chaos ensued, the two other attackers entered through the kitchen and began shooting. They were later killed by security guards, said Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi.

Kabul police chief Gen. Mohammad Zahir Zahir said the 16 people killed were all inside the restaurant. He said foreigners and Afghans were among the dead, but he did not provide a breakdown. Officials said at least four other people were wounded.

The International Monetary Fund's representative in Afghanistan, Wabel Abdallah, was among those killed, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said in a statement. The 60-year-old from Lebanon was appointed to the position in 2008.

Four U.N. employees who "reportedly could have been present in close proximity to the scene of the attack" remained "unaccounted for," said Ari Gaitanis, a spokesman for the U.N. mission in Afghanistan. The mission said in a statement that some of its staff "may be among the dead" and was verifying the status of personnel in Kabul.

The Canadian Press
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