A hospital in the embattled city of Kunduz, came under attack on Saturday and the American military acknowledged that it may have killed 19 patients, staff members and others at the facility while firing on insurgents nearby.

The attack, which the military said in a statement might have been “collateral damage” that occurred while engaging militants, drew a fierce international outcry.

At least 12 staff members and seven patients (including three children) were killed when the hospital, run by Doctors Without Borders, was badly damaged in the airstrike early Saturday in Kunduz.

The United States military, in a statement, confirmed an airstrike at 2:15 a.m., saying that it had been targeting individuals “who were threatening the force” and that “there may have been collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”

An American official, who requested anonymity to discuss early reports of an event now under official investigation, said the attack may have been carried out by an American AC-130 gunship that was supporting Special Operations forces on the ground in Kunduz.

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