00:45 - Source: CNN
Mysterious gas sickens hundreds of Afghan school girls

Story highlights

The deputy governor said he believes the incidents were intentional gas attacks

208 girls fell ill at one school, and 115 girls were hospitalized from another

Schoolgirls are often attacked by men who don't believe they should go to school

Kabul, Afghanistan CNN  — 

Mysterious fumes in two Afghan schools have sent more than 300 girls to a hospital this week – and officials suspect the incidents were deliberate.

On Thursday, 115 girls from a school in Herat city were hospitalized after they were poisoned with some type of gas, Herat Regional Hospital spokesman Mohammad Rafiq Sherzai said.

The schoolgirls ranged in age from between 9 and 18, he said.

Sherzai said this is the third incident of its kind this week in the same police district of Herat.

On Monday, 140 girls were hospitalized from a different school in the city after smelling a similar gas, Sherzai said.

On Wednesday, 68 girls fell ill at the same school where Monday’s gas incident took place.

Aseeluddin Jami, the deputy governor of Herat province, said he believed the incidents were deliberately caused, but did not say who may be responsible.

Attacks against schoolgirls in Afghanistan happen with alarming frequency, often by militants who believe girls should not go to school.

Afghanistan: Men throw acid into girls’ faces ‘for going to school’

In July, assailants on a motorbike threw acid in the faces of three teen girls on their way to school in Herat province.

Two of the girls were critically injured, Herat province education head Aziz-ul-Rahman Sarwary said.

The girls, ages 16 to 18, attended one of the biggest girls’ schools in the area.

Jamal Abdul Naser Akhundzada, the head of the local Noor hospital, recalled what the girls said the assailants told them after pouring acid on them:

“This is the punishment for going to school.”

Acid attacks, poison: What Afghan girls risk by going to school