Police: Suicide bomber strikes in Afghan capital

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An Afghan policeman stand guard at the back of a police vehicle following a suicide attack near the gate of a U.S. military base in Khost, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012. A vehicle driven by a suicide bomber exploded at the gate of a major U.S. military base in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing the attacker and three Afghans, Afghan police said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. AP/Nishanuddin Khan

KABUL, Afghanistan—Afghan police say a suicide bomber has struck in the center of Kabul near the headquarters of the intelligence service and the Afghan Interior Ministry.

The explosion sounded about noon local time and could be heard throughout downtown. Gunshots continued to ring out throughout the heavily guarded neighborhood about half an hour later as a plume of smoke rose into the sky. A police officer at the scene named Abdul Shookur said the attack started with a suicide bombing but did not provide further details. It was not clear if the ongoing shooting was a sign of additional attackers.

A spokesman for the international military coalition in Afghanistan confirmed an explosion and small arms fire but did not provide further details.

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