Islamic State reportedly behind suicide bombing of Afghan bank
Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a bombing outside a bank in Jalalabad Afghanistan Saturday. The attack killed at least 33 people and wounded 105.
FAIZABAD and Kabul, Afghanistan — A suicide bomb attack on a bank branch in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad has killed at least 33 people, officials said.
Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, spokesman for the provincial governor in Nangarhar province, said on Saturday that 105 people were also wounded in the attack in the provincial capital.
"There are reports of many wounded people in critical condition at the hospital," Abdulzai said.
Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility.
The attacker detonated an explosive-laden motorcycle, targeting a crowd of both military personnel and civilians who were gathered outside the bank to receive their monthly salaries. The bank branch is located in the heart of a crowded commercial district, full of banks and government offices, Abdulzai said.
The force of the blast shattered windows miles away and damaged several businesses and cars in the vicinity. Security forces blocked off the area to allow ambulances and rescue crews to care for the wounded.
"More than 100 wounded and around 33 dead bodies have been brought to the hospital," said Dr. Hamayon Zaheer, head of Jalalabad hospital.
Shir Aqha, an Afghan army soldier who was receiving treatment for wounds suffered in the attack, said that he had received his salary from the bank, but was still in the area when the blast took place.
"A motorcycle came in and I think a man in a suit entered inside the crowd and detonated his explosive. I hear two sounds of explosions and I can't remember after that," he said.
Another blast was reported Saturday near a shrine in Jalalabad, but no one was hurt. A third blast was also heard in Jalalabad, but it was later reported as a controlled explosion by the Afghan army in Nangarhar, Abdulzai said.
Meanwhile another bombing in the Behsud district of Nangarhar province killed one civilian and wounded two others, Abdulzai said, adding that it appears a magnetic bomb was attached to a parked car and then detonated by remote control.
The Pakistani government, which is coordinating with Afghanistan on counter-terrorism issues, condemned the Saturday attacks. A statement released by the Pakistani Foreign Ministry called the bombings cowardly and indiscriminate, and said attacks against civilians have no justification under any circumstances.
Associated Press writer Zarar Khan in Islamabad contributed to this report.