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‘IS’ claims Sikh attack
KUWAIT CITY, June 19, (Agencies): Kuwait on Sunday condemned a pair of explosions that rocked Afghanistan’s capital Kabul a day earlier. The international community needs to take decisive action against “the menace of terrorism,” said a foreign ministry statement, wishing a speedy recovery for those wounded in the attacks. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack on the Sikh temple in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul that killed at least one worshipper and wounded seven others. IS made the claim in a statement posted on its Amaq website late Saturday. It said the assault on “the Sikh and Hindu temple” was in response to alleged insults made against the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the central figure of the Islamic religion, by an Indian government official. It did not name the official.
Gunmen attacked the Sikh house of worship, known as a gurdwara, Saturday morning and a firefight between the attackers and Taliban fighters seeking to protect the building ensued, Afghan officials said. A vehicle filled with explosives was detonated outside of the temple but that resulted in no casualties. Before that, the gunmen threw a hand grenade which caused a fire near the temple’s gate, the officials said The IS said Abu Mohammed al-Tajiki, a member of the group, stormed the temple after killing the guard and then targeted the people inside with machine-gun fire and hand grenades. IS fighters outside the temple detonated four explosive devices and a car bomb targeting patrols of Taliban militia who tried to protect the temple. The battle ended after three hours, the Amaq report said.
The Sikh Coalition, the largest Sikh civil rights organization based in the United States, said the gurdwara was significantly damaged by the attack. “The recurring tragic violence targeting the Afghan Sikh community is devastating, but also entirely predictable and preventable,” said Anisha Singh, the group’s executive director, in a statement late Saturday. “The international community, and in particular the United States, continues to fall short of urgently-needed efforts to protect and safely resettle all Afghan Sikhs and Hindus.”
Videos posted on social media showed plumes of black smoke rising from the temple in Kabul’s Bagh-e Bala neighborhood and gunfire could be heard. Kabul police said the gunfight with the militants ended after the last attacker was killed several hours after the assault began. They said one Sikh was killed and seven others were wounded in the attack and a Taliban security force was killed during the rescue operation. It was unclear how many IS militants were involved or how many were killed in the gunbattle with the Taliban.