Suicide Bomber Kills 5 Outside Kabul Bank
A suicide bomber attacked a crowd outside a bank in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Tuesday, killing at least five people and wounding nine others, a city police spokesman confirmed to VOA.
The attack occurred at the entrance of a Kabul Bank branch not far from the heavily protected U.S. embassy.
The target was not clear, but witnesses said personnel of the Afghan army and other security institutions were among the crowd to receive their monthly salaries.
The deadly blast occurred as Afghanistan prepares to mark the annual festival of Eid.
On Friday, a bomb attack at a packed Shi'ite mosque in Kabul killed more than 40 worshipers, including women and children, and wounded more than 100 others.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the violence.
North Korea Fires Missile Over Japan, Triggering Alarm
North Korea fired a missile that flew over Japan early Tuesday morning, prompting fresh concern in Tokyo and Seoul.
The missile, passing high above Japan about 10 minutes after launch, split into three pieces and splashed into the Pacific Ocean, east of the northern main Japanese island of Hokkaido, according to Japan’s government.
The trajectory triggered satellite-activated emergency alarms to the Japanese public, warning people in the Tohoku region to take cover because of a possible impact from a North Korean missile.
The missile was launched (at 20:57 UTC Monday/05:57 in Seoul and Tokyo on Tuesday) from Sunan, near Pyongyang’s international airport, flying more than 2,700 kilometers at a maximum altitude of around 550 kilometers, according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Japanese authorities say their anti-missile batteries made no attempt to shoot down the projectile.
The North Korean launch "did not pose a threat to North America," said U.S. Army Colonel Robert Manning, a spokesman at the Pentagon.
An official at the U.S. National Security Council told VOA that authorities in Washington were awaiting specific information from the U.S. Pacific Command about the type of North Korean missile that was fired.
Authorities in Japan sounded an alert for the northern part of the country as soon as the launch was detected, but no rocket fragments were known to hit the ground.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who immediately called an emergency meeting, said as he entered his office: "We will make utmost efforts to firmly protect the lives of the people."
Japan’s chief government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, said the incident was a "serious, grave security threat" to Japan.
Suga declared the launch was a clear violation of United Nations resolutions, and said Japan will work closely with the United States, South Korea and other concerned nations on a response.
Japan, the United States and South Korea have called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the situation.
South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, also quickly convened a morning meeting of his national security council, as has become the norm following such launches from the North.
Moon's spokesman Park Su-hyun said the country's military also put on a show of force with four fighter jets dropping bombs on targets at a military field.
The U.S. dollar fell to a four-month low against the Japanese yen in early Tuesday morning currency trading in Asia in response to the North Korean missile launch.
Three days before Tuesday's launch, Pyongyang fired three short-range missiles into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, as U.S. and South Korean military forces were beginning scheduled joint military exercises.