Afghan authorities have raised the death toll from an attack by ISIS on a Sikh place of worship in the capital, Kabul, to 25 killed.
The Interior Ministry says a lone ISIS gunman rampaged through a Sikh Gurdwara in the heart of the Afghan capital on Wednesday, killing 25 worshippers and wounding eight.
It says that the gunman held many of the worshippers hostage for several hours as Afghan special forces, helped by international troops, tried to clear the building.
Those killed included a child whose body was brought to a Kabul hospital, the emergency services and the hospital said. At least 15 people were wounded.
The temple, located in the historical neighbourhood of Shor Bazaar in old Kabul, was not only hosting worshipers for morning prayers, but was also home to several Sikh families, raising concerns of high casualties.
The Site Intelligence Group, which tracks militant postings and groups, said IS claimed responsibility for the attack on the group’s Aamaq media arm.
For hours, family and community members on the outside waited for news on the loved ones stuck inside. “Families are trying to reach members who went to morning prayers, but no one is answering the phones. There are also many families who live inside the Gurudwara complex and we haven’t heard from them any of their male members,” Pari, an Afghan Sikh from Kabul, told The National. While she was not at the prayers herself, she was following the developments closely to check on close community members. Ramnath, another Afghan Hindu, shared that other places of worship for Hindus and Sikhs in the city had been put on lockdown.
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