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ISIS claims deadly attack on Westerners in Tajikistan

ISIS has announced that it was responsible for the attack in Tajikistan on Sunday against a group of European cyclists, which left four foreigners dead, FRN reported.

Published: August 1, 2018, 9:35 am

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    A group of seven tourists cycling in the central Asian country on Sunday, in the Danghara district, encountered the jihadists about 150 kilometers from the capital, Dushanbe. They were cycling in the Khatlon province of Tajikistan.

    According to local media, a vehicle rammed into the group. Armed with a knife and a pistol, one jihadist then attacked the cyclists, killing four and leaving three of them injured.

    video of the attack shows a driver swerving across the road to hit riders on purpose. The four cyclists killed were from the United States, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The wounded are from the Netherlands, Switzerland and France. Dutch citizen Kim Aeres and Swiss citizen Marie Claire Dimend were taken to the hospital in critical condition, The Telegraph reported.

    ISIS released a bulletin in which they said that “soldiers of the Islamic State” killed the cyclists “in response to calls to target citizens of Coalition countries”. The BBC reported about yet another video in which jihadists pledge to fight against the Tajik state.

    According to the Ministry of the Interior, the perpetrators who had carried out the attack were found and killed.

    It is the first attack carried out on Tajik soil. According to a 2017 report, some 1300 Tajik citizens have left to join ISIS in Syria, which makes it one of the group’s largest sources of fighters.

    This comes in the wake of a raid against ISIS jihadists in neighbouring Afghanistan on Saturday. According to media reports on Saturday, some 16 ISIS members were killed while another 5 suspects were arrested during operations carried out by Afghan Forces in Nangarhar province.

    Afghan forces have carried out a total of 12 offensive operations across the country during the past 24 hours, with air strikes targeted in various parts of the country, according to TOLO news, quoting the Afghan Ministry of Defense.

    The ministry, however, did not provide any information about casualties between Afghan and civilian forces, the paper added.

    Afghanistan remains plunged into political, social and security instability due to the militant insurgency, including that of ISIS and radical Taliban elements.

    While both groups are Salafists, they are fighting over control of parts of Afghanistan. The Taliban are mostly focusing their efforts on Pashtun regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan while ISIS has been operating as an international terrorist group.

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