Casualties as gunmen attack prison in Afghanistans Jalalabad – Al Jazeera English

Gunmen have attacked a prison compound in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad and a battle with security forces is under way, according to officials, with reports of several casualties. 

Sohrab Qaderi, a provincial council member in Jalalabad, said the attackers detonated a car laden with explosives outside the government-run facility, with two smaller blasts following the initial position.

He said the attackers had taken up a position near the prison and heavy fighting was under way.

“At least 20 people were injured in the ongoing clashes,” Qaderi was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency. More than 50 prisoners escaped, and the death toll could rise, he said.

Bilal Sarwary, a freelance journalist in Kabul, said he was told by an inmate that a number of prisoners were wounded.

“Several security towers were being controlled by the militants,” Sarwary added.

“It was still not clear how the group got so many weapons and ammunition in the heart of Jalalabad,” he said.

Gunmen attack prison in Afghanistan's Jalalabad

A provincial council member in Jalalabad said the attackers detonated a car laden with explosives outside the government-run prison [Al Jazeera] 

The interior ministry confirmed the attack, saying police and special forces were deployed to the site.

“Based on initial information, at least three people have been killed and five more wounded,” Tareq Arian, spokesman for the ministry said.

ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the armed group’s propaganda arm, Amaq.

Earlier, a Taliban spokesperson said on Twitter the group was not involved in the attack, which came on the final day of a rare truce between it and the Afghan government to mark the Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday. 

Sunday’s attack came a day after the Afghan intelligence agency said a senior ISIL commander was killed by Afghan special forces near Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province.

Nangarhar has been hit by regular attacks, several of them claimed by ISIL.

On May 12, a suicide bomber killed 32 mourners at a funeral for a police commander in the province, in one of the deadliest attacks this year also claimed by ISIL.

Al Jazeera and news agencies