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Car bomb explodes near US Embassy

world Updated: Nov 27, 2008 11:31 IST

A suicide car bomber targeting an American convoy exploded about 200 yards (meters) outside the US Embassy in Kabul on Thursday, killing at least four people just as American civilians were entering the compound for a Thanksgiving Day race.

At least 18 more were wounded in the 8:30 am attack, the public health ministry said.

Police officer Abdul Manan said the explosion was set off by a suicide bomber in a Toyota Corolla.

The U.S. Embassy was hosting a Thanksgiving Day fun run at 9 am , so Americans and other Westerners were entering the embassy compound when the bomb went off, sending some participants sprinting for the embassy gates.

"I was about 30 or 40 yards inside the gate. There was a large explosion. I felt the shock wave, though it wasn't all that strong," said Danny Cutherell, a 26 year old aid worker from Virginia. "We were about 200 yards from the blast when it went off, but we were behind the embassy wall and that protected us." Cutherell said about 20 participants in the run had been locked inside a room with double-locking doors at the embassy's security checkpoint and that guards would neither let them in or out. "We're here for a while," he said.

"It was a bit shocking but it's also not that shocking because it is Thanksgiving and we had heard there was going to be tightened security on Thursday," Cutherell said. "It's just scary to be that close to it."