IS claims assassination of Taliban cleric in Kabul

by Mohammad Yunus Yawar and Jibran Ahmad

KABUL/PESHAWAR, Aug 11 (Reuters) – The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility on Thursday for the assassination of a senior Taliban cleric, Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani, killed by a suicide bomber at a religious school in Kabul earlier in the day .

Four sources close to the Taliban told Reuters that the assailant, who had lost a leg in the past, detonated explosives hidden in his prosthesis.

“We have learned with great sadness that the respected cleric (Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani) was martyred in a cowardly attack by our enemies,” Taliban government spokesman Bilal Karimi said.

An Interior Ministry official said an investigation was underway to determine the identity of the killer.

“This is a very significant loss for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” he added.

IS, which had previously attempted to assassinate Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani in 2020 in Peshawar, northern Pakistan, in an attack that killed seven people, claimed responsibility for the attack in a message posted on a Telegram account. (Reporting by Mohammad Yunus Yawar in Kabul and Jibran Ahmad in Peshawar; writing by Charlotte Greenfield; French version Dina Kartit, editing by Tangi Salaün)

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