Interpreters die of wounds from attack

Saturday, December 21, 2002

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Two Afghan interpreters wounded by a grenade explosion at an international peacekeepers' base in Kabul died Friday, a day after the attack.

One Afghan victim was identified as Habib Ullah, 28, who had worked as a translator for a French charity, the Afghan Media and Cultural Center.

Relatives of the other victim asked that his name not be released. He had been an interpreter for the peacekeeping force.

Two French nationals injured in the blast were Alisa Leroy, 29, and Eric Coorevits, 33, said Cyril Papillard, the head of the Afghan Media and Cultural Center.

Coorevits had a badly broken leg and light shrapnel wounds. He received emergency surgery and was to be flown to Paris on Saturday, the spokesman said.

Leroy, who received superficial cuts to her face, was released from a hospital Friday, Papillard said.

A man suspected of throwing the grenade was killed immediately in Thursday's blast.

Police arrested a second man with a grenade before he could detonate it.

The two men were waiting in line to enter the peacekeepers' base. One of them threw his grenade to the ground when he realized those in front of him were being searched, said Turkish Col. Samet Oz, of the peacekeeping force.

"When he realized he would not be able to enter the camp because of the tight security ... at this point he threw one, possibly two, grenades into the area," Oz said.

When peacekeepers opened fire, the same assailant exploded another grenade killing himself. The two interpreters who died Friday were injured in the grenade explosions.

No peacekeepers were hurt in the attack, the second against international troops this week. Kabul's international community was already on edge after a grenade assault Tuesday injured two U.S. Special Forces soldiers and their Afghan translator near Spinboldak in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border.

Security has been beefed up in the capital since Tuesday's incident, with extra police manning checkpoints and undercover agents fanned out across the city.

The two wounded U.S. soldiers were being treated Friday at a military hospital in Germany.

The soldiers were airlifted Thursday to a U.S. air base at Ramstein in western Germany and then taken to the military's nearby Landstuhl hospital. One soldier was undergoing surgery Friday, Sgt. Phillip Breedlove, a spokesman at the hospital.

That soldier was in stable condition before the operation, Breedlove said. The other soldier was in good condition.

Separately, a U.S. soldier suffered shrapnel wounds in a rocket attack on a coalition safe house near Asadabad, north of Jalalabad in northeastern Afghanistan, Central Command officials said. The soldier was listed in stable condition at a medical facility in Kandahar.

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