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Afghanistan: 24 killed in Islamic State attack at Jalalabad prison; scores of prisoners escape after mass jailbreak

The IS attack began in Afghanistan's Jalalabad on Sunday evening with a car bomb detonated at the entrance to the prison, and there were numerous other blasts heard as the IS gunmen opened fire on security guards.

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Afghanistan: 24 killed in Islamic State attack at Jalalabad prison; scores of prisoners escape after mass jailbreak
Afghan security forces transport detained prisoners who escaped from a jail after insurgents attacked a jail compound in Jalalabad
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Almost 24 hours after a group of at least 20 Islamic State (IS) terrorists attacked a prison in Afghanistan`s Jalalabad city, 24 people, including students, have been killed and 43 injured in a fierce gun-battle which is still ongoing.

News agencies, citing sources in Kabul, reported that the 24 people, including three attackers, were killed in the gunfight between the terrorists and the Afghan security forces in the Jalalabad prison and a nearby mall.

The attack began on Sunday evening with a car bomb detonated at the entrance to the prison, and there were numerous other blasts heard as the IS gunmen opened fire on security guards. The prison was breached from multiple points with a combination of Suicide Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (SVBIEDs), rocket attacks, and ground attackers.

Some 30 militants involved in the attack on the prison, where some 2,000 prisoners were held, according to Sohrab Qaderi, a lawmaker in the capital of Nangarhar province. The attackers also entered residences and executed some civilians.

The IS attackers are wearing suicide vests, the sources said, adding that civilian homes in the vicinity were damaged by grenade and mortars.

Sources said the IS' foreign terrorists are involved in the attack on the prison in which 700 prisoners attempted to escape. Most of the prisoners were recaptured, police sources said. Police were forced to divert manpower to recapture escaped prisoners amid the chaos, and by noon on Monday around 1,000 had been caught, Qaderi said.

However, at least 50 escaped, the sources said, adding that the prison break attempt may be a reaction to the killing of Assadullah Orakzai, Pakistani-origin terrorist who was the IS-Khorasan Head of Intelligence.

He was killed by the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Afghan intelligence agency on Saturday in an operation near Jalalabad.

The counter-terror operations in Jalalabad on Monday are going slowly to prevent the killings of civilians and minimize the collateral damage, sources said.

Afghan special forces arrived to support police, according to officials, and civilians were being evacuated from areas surrounding the prison, where Taliban and IS prisoners were being held along with ordinary criminals.

Meanwhile, the city was in lockdown.

"The whole city of Jalalabad is under curfew, shops are closed," Qaderi said. "Jalalabad is completely empty."

IS claimed responsibility for the attack, which came a day after the Afghan intelligence agency said special forces had killed a senior commander of the group near Jalalabad, the provincial capital of Nangarhar.

Last November, the Afghan and NATO coalition forces defeated the ISKP, forcing hundreds to surrender along with their families, with most of them being Pakistani nationals who had infiltrated, four years ago, into Nangarhar province through the Durand Line -the border which Afghanistan has disputed since it was drawn by the British in 1893.

Nangarhar province was the center of the ISKP activities in Afghanistan.

Jalalabad, the fifth-largest city of Afghanistan, is about 80 miles from the capital Kabul.

 

(With agency inputs)

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