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ISIL claims attack targeting journalists in Afghanistan

Armed group says attack in Mazar-i-Sharif was carried out with a parcel bomb.

The armed group ISIL (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for a bomb attack that killed a guard and wounded a group of journalists and children in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif this week.

The blast on media workers was caused by a “package bomb that IS fighters managed to place and detonate,” the group said in a statement through its Amaq News Agency on Sunday.

“The blast was aimed at a gathering at a Shia (Shia) center to reward several journalists working in agencies involved in the war and incitement against IS,” the statement said.

A security guard was killed, while five journalists and three children were injured in the bomb attack, police said.

Saturday’s attack in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, came two days after a suicide bomber killed the Taliban governor of the same province in an attack also claimed by IS.

The assassination of Governor Mohammad Dawood Muzammil, known for his fight against IS, was one of the heaviest attacks since the Taliban took over the country in 2021.

Violence across Afghanistan has dropped dramatically since the Taliban took control, but the security situation has deteriorated again as ISIL claims several deadly attacks.

ISIL attacks in Afghanistan often target the Shia and Sufi minority communities, as well as foreigners and foreign interests.