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The suicide bomber waited until the last possible moment, U.S. officials said.

A crowd straining to get into Hamid Karzai International Airport had converged on Abbey Gate, a main entryway manned by Marines and other service members. The troops knew that they could be targeted in an attack; just the day before, the State Department had warned of a “credible” threat at three gates at the airport, where more than 5,000 U.S. troops had helped to evacuate more than 100,000 people in less than two weeks. Abbey Gate was on the list.

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