Afghan funeral suicide attack death toll reaches to 15

Jalalabad attack

JALALABAD:A suicide attacker blew himself up at a funeral in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing at least 15 mourners and wounding another 14, officials said, capping a deadly year for civilians.
There was no immediate claim of responsiblity but Taliban and Islamic State militants have stepped up assaults in recent months, with ordinary Afghans bearing the brunt of the violence.
“The death toll of the attack targeting a funeral ceremony in Behsud district of Nangarhar has increased to 15,” Nangarhar governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said.                  Another 14 were wounded. All the casualties were civilians.
An earlier statement from the governor’s office said 12 people had been killed in the attack near the provincial capital Jalalabad.
The bomber struck during the funeral ceremony for a former governor of Haska Mina district who died recently of natural causes, the statement said.
Provincial health director Najib Kamawal confirmed the toll.
While the Taliban is still responsible for the majority of attacks and casualties across Afghanistan, IS militants have been on a rampage this month.
The incident in Nangarhar, comes days after the group claimed an assault on a Shiite cultural centre in Kabul that left 41 people dead and more than 80 wounded.                  That followed a Christmas Day attack, also claimed by IS, near an Afghan intelligence agency compound in the Afghan capital that left six civilians dead.
On December 18 militants from the group stormed an intelligence training compound in Kabul, triggering an intense gunfight with police, two of whom were wounded.                  The Middle Eastern jihadist outfit has gained ground in Afghanistan since it first appeared in the region in 2015, and has scaled up its attacks in Kabul and elsewhere, including on security installations and the country’s Shiite minority.
The latest news comes at the end of a particularly deadly year for Afghans, with the number of civilian casualties on track to be one of the highest on record since the US invasion in 2001.– APP


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