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Victims lying in pools of blood after deadly Islamic State suicide attack

More than 100 people were wounded.

 Afghan soldiers
Afghan soldiers
Image: AP/Press Association Images

ISLAMIC STATE CLAIMED responsibility for a suicide attack in Afghanistan today that killed 33 people and wounded more than 100 others, President Ashraf Ghani said, in what appears to be the first major attack by the jihadists in the country.

Ghani’s government has repeatedly raised the ominous prospect of IS making inroads into Afghanistan, though the group that has captured swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq has never formally acknowledged having a presence in the country.

Jalalabad

Today, a suicide bomber killed 33 people and wounded 115 others outside the state-run Kabul Bank in the eastern city of Jalalabad as government officials were drawing their salaries, in the deadliest attack since November.

The scene of the bombing showed the scale of the carnage with victims lying in pools of blood and body parts scattered across the ground.

“Who claimed responsibility for the horrific attack in Nangarhar today? The Taliban did not claim responsibility for the attack, Daesh (IS) claimed responsibility,” Ghani said.

A person purporting to be an IS spokesman said in a call to AFP that the group was behind the bombing. An online posting allegedly from IS made the same claim, which could not be immediately verified.

Death toll

“Thirty-three dead bodies and more than 100 wounded were brought to the hospital,” Dr Najeebullah Kamawal, head of the provincial hospital, told AFP.

The UN gave a higher toll, saying 35 people had been killed and provincial government spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai said 115 people were wounded, four of them critically.

Separately, two explosives-rigged motorcycles were discovered in Jalalabad and destroyed with controlled detonations, the interior ministry said.

Ghani strongly condemned the attack, in which children counted among fatalities, his office said in a statement.

Carrying out terrorist attacks in cities and public places are the most cowardly acts of terror by terrorists targeting innocent civilians.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also condemned the assault.

Today’s carnage came as Afghanistan braces for what is expected to be a bloody push by the Taliban at the start of the spring fighting season.

However, the Taliban swiftly issued a strong condemnation of the attack and denied responsibility — as it often does for assaults with large civilian casualties.

- © AFP, 2015

Read: Five teenagers arrested over ‘ISIS-inspired terror plot’>

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