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At Least 32 Dead After Shooting In Kabul; ISIS Group Claims Responsibility

ISIS said its fighters were currently carrying out an attack on the temple, according to a statement released by SITE, which monitors jihadist networks worldwide.

Kabul| The Islamic State or ISIS group has claimed an attack on a gurdwara in central Kabul, according to the SITE intelligence group, in the latest assault by the extremist outfit targeting a minority group in Afghanistan.

Gunmen opened fire on a memorial ceremony Friday in Kabul, killing at least 32 people and wounding dozens more in the first major attack in the Afghan capital since the U.S. signed a peace framework with the Taliban late last week.

Several prominent politicians, including the country’s chief executive and recent presidential candidate, Abdullah Abdullah, were in the audience but escaped unharmed.

A spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of the Interior said the gunmen retreated to a nearby building, where they were killed during an hours-long standoff with security forces.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. The ceremony marked 25 years since the death of Abdul Ali Mazari, a leader of the country’s Shiite minority, and the Sunni militant group that targeted a similar event last year.

“This situation looks endless in our country,” one of the people injured in the attack told local media. “There are political games, but only the poor people pay the price — how long will this continue?”

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he called Abdullah, his erstwhile rival for the presidency, and Karim Khalili, the chief of Afghanistan’s high peace council. Khalili had been delivering an address at the ceremony when loud gunfire erupted, followed by screams. He emerged from the attack unscathed.

Also Read: In Kabul, US reports ”agreements in principle” with Taliban

Afghan forces have cleared the first floor of a Sikh worship area in PD1 of Kabul, where suicide bombers are battling security forces,” Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian was quoted as saying in the report.

“A number of people have been rescued who were trapped inside the building,” he said.

The country’s main militant group, the Taliban, has denied involvement in the attack.

Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement that the militant group had no link with the attack in Shor Bazar area of Kabul, Khama News agency reported.

Sikhs have been the target of attack by Islamist militants before in Afghanistan. Two years ago, the Islamic State group targeted a Sikh gathering in Afghanistan, killing 19 people.

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