Islamic State Claims Attack on Sikh Worshippers in Kabul Gurdwara, Death Toll Rises to 25
Kabul: Gunmen and suicide bombers stormed a Sikh gurdwara in the heart of Afghanistan's capital of Kabul on Wednesday, killing at least 25 worshippers and wounding as many, in one of the deadliest attacks on the minority community in the country, according to a media report.
The Islamic State group claimed the attack, AFP reported.
The gunmen attacked the gurdwara in Shor Bazar area at about 7.45am (local time) as 150 worshippers were inside the building.
"At least 25 people have been killed and 11 others wounded in attack at Dharamshala, a Sikh worship area in PD1 of Kabul," Tolo News quoted a security source as saying.
"All four suicide bombers who attacked Dharamshala, a Sikh worship area in PD1 of Kabul, were killed after nearly six hours of fighting. Afghan special forces confirmed," it said in a tweet.
Kabul police said that at least 11 children have been rescued from the gurdwara.
Sikh lawmaker Nardendar Singh Khalisa told reporters close to the scene that up to 150 people were praying inside the gurdwara when it came under attack.
"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.