Saturday, 19 October, 2019

IS claims deadly attack on tourists in Tajikistan

Americans killed in Tajikistan IS claims deadly attack on tourists in Tajikistan
Patty Aguilar | 02 August, 2018, 15:36

A purported video of the incident obtained by Radio Free Europe shows the blurry image of a auto crossing a lane of traffic and then hitting something - apparently the cyclists - at the edge of the opposite lane. It then heads straight at a second group and appears to send bodies flying. Three others in the same group survived the attack, including one with a knife wound, officials said.

Tajikistan's interior minister said the assailants were armed with knives and guns; Tajikistan's Asia-Plus media group reported that three suspects were killed in a confrontation with police in the village of Osmondara.

Two citizens of Switzerland and the Netherlands were also injured in the attack in the Danghara district, about 100 kilometres from the capital Dushanbe. Other reports say two suspects are dead.

On Monday, IRPT issued a statement expressing its condolences to the families and countries of the victims.

Gulmurod Khalimov, Islamic State's most high-profile Tajik recruit, served as the chief of the Tajikistan interior ministry's special forces unit prior to his defection in 2015. It's unclear if the incident was intentional or an accident, the Tajikistan Interior Ministry said on its website.

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The four tourists died after a auto struck them in Khatlon Oblast, a region south of Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe. Officials say the vehicle hit the cyclists before somebody attacked them with firearms and a knife.

In a statement published today, the IS group said that a "detachment from the soldiers of the Caliphate" had carried out the attack against "citizens of Crusader coalition countries", according to SITE.

The U.S. Embassy did not disclose further details due to privacy concerns.

The embassy said as of Monday, it does not believe there is a heightened threat to USA citizens in Tajikistan.

"If it is established that this was a terrorist attack, it will be noted in future travel advice for Tajikistan", the ministry said in a statement. Islamic State (IS), however, has also claimed responsibility. A State Department official told ABC News the USA was "aware of reports that this may have been a terrorist act", but referred to Tajik authorities, who are leading the investigation. The party's exiled leaders said they had no link to the attack, saying that Tajik authorities are using the incident for political purposes.

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