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Gunmen Kill 25 At Kabul Sikh Temple, IS Claims Responsibility


An Afghan soldier walks civilians to safety during an attack on a Sikh temple in Kabul on March 25.

Militants launched an attack on a Sikh temple in Kabul that left at least 25 people dead before security forces killed the attackers and freed dozens of hostages.

Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian did not say how many attackers were involved in the March 25 assault on the temple, though all were killed.

The Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack via the Amaq news agency, which it uses to distribute statements.

The Interior Ministry said that in addition to the 25 dead, eight people were wounded and 80 being held in the compound were rescued.

The AP news agency reported one of the dead was a child, whose body was brought to a Kabul hospital.

A Taliban spokesman had earlier denied responsibility for the attack via a statement on the group's Amaq News agency.

Member of parliament Narender Singh Khalsa, who represents Afghanistan's tiny Sikh community, told RFE/RL that at one point, more than 150 people were trapped inside the compound during the early morning attack.

Khalsa said that the majority of the hostages were women and children who were gathering for the morning praying session.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul and rights group Amnesty International condemned the attack.

“Peace will only come when people resolve their differences through words, not guns,” the U.S. Embassy said in a statement.

Amnesty said on Twitter that it was “shocked and disheartened” by the attack. https://twitter.com/amnestysasia

Sikhs, a small religious minority in Afghanistan which numbers fewer than 300 families, have been targeted by Islamist militants before.

A suicide bombing targeting the Sikh community and claimed by the Islamic State (IS) militant group killed more than a dozen people in 2018 in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.

The United States last month struck a deal with the Taliban on the withdrawal of U.S.-led international troops but the agreement does not include IS militants.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, dpa, and tolonews.com

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