JALALABAD, Afghanistan (Reuters) - The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on an Afghan state television station on Wednesday that killed at least six people as well as the attackers and wounded 24.
The attack, in the eastern city of Jalalabad, was the latest in a series on Afghan journalists and media in recent years. It came just over a week after it was confirmed that the leader of Islamic State in Afghanistan had been killed in a U.S. drone strike.
Islamic State, or Daesh as it is generally known in Afghanistan, has established a stronghold in Nangarhar province bordering Pakistan, of which Jalalabad is capital, where it fights both the Taliban and Afghan government forces.
The raid on the RTA state broadcaster was carried out by four attackers, one of whom had detonated a suicide bomb at the entrance to the compound, said provincial governor Gulab Mangal.
As the attack unfolded, heavy gunfire could be heard from around the RTA building, which is close to the governor’s compound
“Islamic State fighters are currently carrying out an attack inside the state broadcasting building in the city of Jalalabad,” the movement’s AMAQ news agency said in a statement on instant messaging service Telegram.
The three others were killed by security forces in the gun battle.
Among the dead were four RTA employees, including a driver, a guard, and two technical personnel, as well as two policemen, according to Mangal.
Seventeen civilians and seven members of the security forces were wounded, he added.
The Afghan Journalists Safety Committee condemned the attack and said it was a violation of the rules of war that protect media as civilians.
The Taliban, who also have a strong presence in the region, denied responsibility.
Islamic State has recently been hit hard by U.S. air strikes and special forces operations.
The head of Islamic State in Afghanistan, Abdul Hassib, was reported this month to have been killed in a joint Afghan-U.S. operation in Nangarhar at the end of April.
Islamic State has also claimed responsibility for a series of high-profile attacks in the capital, Kabul, including one in March on Afghanistan’s largest military hospital.
Additional reporting by Mohamed el Sherif in CAIRO; writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Robert Birsel and Clarence Fernandez