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Suicide Bombers Attack Indian Consulate In Afghanistan

A botched attack on an Indian consulate in Afghanistan's eastern city of Jalalabad has left nine civilians dead in addition to the three suicide bombers, security officials say.

NPR's Sean Carberry reports from Kabul that the Taliban has disclaimed responsibility for the bombing in which two-dozen people were also wounded.

Sean says the explosion occurred outside the consulate but that most of the victims were at a neighboring mosque. Two other attackers died in a gun battle with security forces.

The BBC says the three bombers drove up in a car before detonating their explosives. It was unclear if the other two assailants were in the same car:

"Deputy police chief of Nangarhar province Masum Khan Hashimi said the blast, close to a mosque, had been a failed attempt to attack the Indian consulate.

He said two of the attackers wearing vests laden with explosives got out of the car and the remaining occupant of the car then blew it up, he told Reuters news agency."

The attack comes after the U.S. issued a worldwide travel warning to Americans abroad and ordered several embassies temporarily shut amid reports of threats from al-Qaida.

The New York Times reports that the actions were prompted by intercepted electronic communications among senior al-Qaida operatives "in which the terrorists discussed attacks against American interests in the Middle East and North Africa."

The newspaper, quoting unnamed U.S. officials on Friday, said:

"It is unusual for the United States to come across discussions among senior Qaeda operatives about operational planning — through informants, intercepted e-mails or eavesdropping on cellphone calls. So when the high-level intercepts were collected and analyzed this week, senior officials at the C.I.A., State Department and White House immediately seized on their significance. Members of Congress have been provided classified briefings on the matter".

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