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Karzai escapes deadly parade attack
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The death toll in the gunfire and explosions which rocked a celebration gathering in Kabul marking the 16th anniversary of Afghan nation Sunday morning rose to four, officials and TV reports said.

Afghan security members escape from an attack against President Hamid Karzai near the presidential palace in Kabul April 27, 2008. Karzai was hussled away but escaped unhurt after an assassination attempt during an official celebration in the capital, Kabul, on Sunday. (chinadaily.com.cn via agencies)

Besides a tribal group chief and a 10-year-old boy, who were killed as stated in an earlier presidential office statement, one of the two injured parliamentarians and one soldier were confirmed dead, according to local TV reports and a defense ministry spokesman.

Militants fired gunshots and rockets on a high-profile function featuring a parade, which was attended by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and several hundred officials, foreign diplomats and local notables.

Explosion and gunfire erupted suddenly at around 9:45 a.m. local time just as all the attendants were standing, listening to the national anthem during which there were celebration cannon firing.

Karzai, who had sit in the middle on the stage opposite the buildings where the attacking shots came from and was thought to be the target, left the scene safe under protection of guards.

The presidential office said Karzai and all the foreign dignitaries present were safe. Karzai has ordered a "thorough and urgent" investigation into the case, it said, adding the "enemies" attempting to disrupt the ceremony of 16th anniversary of the nation only "partially disrupted it."

Karzai, while addressing the public through television, called on the people to remain calm, saying the law enforcers have arrested "some suspects," and the situation is under control.

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai salutes just before an assassination attempt during a celebration in Kabul April 27, 2008. Karzai escaped unhurt after an assassination attempt by Taliban fighters with guns and rockets during the official celebration in Kabul on Sunday.

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