MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Afghanistan: A female international staff member working for the Red Cross in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif was shot dead today by a hospital patient, officials said.

Police said that two arrests had been made and an investigation was under way.

Sheer Jan Durani, a spokesman for the police chief in Balkh province, said two patients were admitted to hospital and one took out a pistol apparently concealed in a wheel chair and shot the woman. Both men were arrested, he said.

A spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kabul confirmed that the staff member had been killed but gave no immediate details.

He said a statement would be released later.