January 15, 2008, in Kabul, Afghanistan
Thomassen, a 38-year-old Norwegian who worked for the Oslo daily Dagbladet, was among eight people who died in a coordinated suicide bomb attack at Kabul's Serena Hotel, a gathering place for much of the country's expatriate community.
The attack came during a visit by Norwegian Foreign Minister
Jonas Gahr Støre, who was in the hotel but was uninjured. Four hotel guards, a
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that Støre was the intended target. The Norwegian government held that Støre was not specifically targeted and that the attack was aimed at the country's foreign community at large. About 500 Norwegian troops were taking part in NATO-led forces in Afghanistan at the time.
The day after the attack, Afghan intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh told a press conference that three Taliban militants wearing suicide jackets filled with explosives ran onto the hotel grounds. The jacket of one assailant exploded after he was shot by a hotel guard outside the building. A second assailant detonated his explosives inside the hotel; the third was arrested later.
Job: Print Reporter
Beats Covered: Politics, War
Local or Foreign: Foreign
Type of Death: Dangerous Assignment
Suspected Source of Fire: Political Group