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'Patient' on Wheelchair Kills ICRC Foreign Physiotherapist in Afghanistan


A foreign woman working for the International Committee of the Red Cross has been shot dead in northern Afghanistan.

ICRC spokesman Ahmad Rameen Ayaz told VOA the incident took place Monday at an orthopedic clinic in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province.

He identified the victim as 38-year-old physiotherapist, Lorena Enebral Perez, a Spanish national.

Ayaz said the Afghan intelligence agency has arrested the assailant and launched an investigation into the deadly attack.

The shooter was said to be a “regular patient” and had hidden the pistol in his wheelchair.

The ICRC spokesman added the motive for the violence was not known immediately.

Ayaz said the aid worker was quickly evacuated to a nearby NATO military hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.

Provincial police officials say the assailant and another suspect taken into custody are being interrogated.

“Energetic and full of laughter, Lorena was the heart of our office in Mazar. Today, our hearts are broken,” said the ICRC’s head of delegation in Afghanistan, Monica Zanarelli.

Last week two kidnapped ICRC employees were released seven months after they were abducted by unknown gunmen in the neighboring Jawzjan province.

The two staff members were abducted by an armed group in early February while on their way to deliver relief assistance in the province with six other colleagues, who were shot and killed in the same attack, according to ICRC.

The relief organization would not comment on the identity of the abductors, their motives or the details of the release.

The intensified armed conflict in Afghanistan has also seen a sharp rise in violence against aid workers trying to deliver much needed assistance to tens of thousands of displaced families across the war-ravaged country.