A fourth staff member of Fairfield, Connecticut-based Save the Children has died after gunmen stormed the local organization’s offices in Jalalabad, Afghanistan Wednesday, triggering a shootout with police that lasted almost 10 hours, provincial officials and the organization said.
At least five are dead and 25 wounded in the attack, according to NBC News.
Save the Children is based in Fairfield, Connecticut and Carlos Carrazana, the organization's executive vice president and chief operating officer, said they are devastated to announce that staff members were killed in the attack.
The victims are all Afghan nationals who “dedicated their lives to supporting children, making sure they have a healthy start, that they learn and that they’re protected from harm,” Carrazana said Wednesday.
He said that from what they understand, no children were in the offices at the time of the attack.
“It is with profound sadness that we can confirm three Save the Children staff members were killed earlier today in an attack on our office in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. All other staff have been safely rescued from the office. Four were injured in the attack and are receiving medical treatment,” Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children, said in a statement Wednesday.
On Thursday, the organization said another staff member has died. A man in his 20s was discovered during a second search of the building, according to a statement from Save the Children.
Inamullah Miakhial, spokesman for Nangarhar regional hospital, said at least 14 wounded were brought to the hospital.
The Islamic State group claimed the attack in a report from its Aamaq news agency. It said a suicide bomber attacked with an explosive-laden vehicle and a subsequent raid targeted "British and Swedish foundations and Afghan government institutes."
“Save the Children condemns this attack in the strongest possible terms. We are shocked and appalled at the violence, carried out against our staff in Afghanistan who are dedicated humanitarians, committed to improving the lives and wellbeing of millions of children across the country. We are doing everything we can to ensure all of our staff get the support they need in the aftermath of this devastating incident,” Miles said in a statement.
Save the Children has been working in Afghanistan since 1976 and has temporarily suspended operations across the country following the attack.
“Investigations into the nature of the attack are ongoing and the motive cannot yet be confirmed. Attacks against aid workers must never be tolerated and have a direct impact on the children we work to protect,” Miles said in a statement.