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24 dead as IS fighters battle Afghan forces after prison attack

At least 24 people - including three attackers - were killed in Afghanistan after Islamic State militants attacked the central prison in Jalalabad, the capital of the eastern province of Nangarhar, an official said on Monday.

Kabul, 3 August 2020 (dpa/MIA) – At least 24 people – including three attackers – were killed in Afghanistan after Islamic State militants attacked the central prison in Jalalabad, the capital of the eastern province of Nangarhar, an official said on Monday.

A further 43 were also wounded in the attack, according to the governor’s spokesman, Ataullah Khogyani. On Sunday the attackers detonated a car bomb then followed up with gunfire, which was still ongoing after 17 hours.

At least 1,000 prisoners who fled during the battle were recaptured and were now being kept in different places, Khogyani said.

Meanwhile, Nangarhar Deputy Governor Tamim Arif said that the main reason the attackers raided the prison was to free all the prisoners.

Arif said that members of Islamic State, the Taliban, and a number of drug dealers were among the prisoners at the time of the attack.

After storming the prison, the assailants occupied a residential building nearby, which has hampered attempts by the security forces to stabilize the situation, Khogyani said.

According to Khogyani, Afghan forces had so far killed three of the attackers and an operation was ongoing to kill them all.

The exact number of attackers was not yet known as the fighting was continuing. Earlier, provincial councillor Suhrab Qaderi spoke of at least 10 attackers.

The attack occurred the day after Afghan forces announced the death of the intelligence chief of the Islamic State’s Afghan branch, Assadullah Orokzai, in Jalalabad.

According to a UN report published in late July, there were 2,200 Islamic State militants operating in various parts of Afghanistan, after being harshly crushed by both the government and Taliban in eastern Kunar and Nuristan province in recent years.

The Taliban denied involvement in the incident, which took place during a mutually agreed three-day ceasefire with the government to mark the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha that began on Friday.

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