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IS Claims Mortar Strike on Kabul During Eid Festivities

Smoke rises from a house where suspected attackers were hiding while policemen arrests two suspects, left, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 21, 2018.

Islamic State's Amaq News Agency issued a statement Tuesday claiming responsibility for what it called a mortar strike on the presidential palace earlier in the day.

A barrage of rockets hit Kabul, just as President Ashraf Ghani was on television delivering his address for the Muslim holy festival Eid-al-Adha in a special ceremony at the presidential palace. At least one rocket landed near the palace in Kabul’s green zone.

Kabul police said a group of five suicide bombers hid behind Kabul’s Eidgah mosque and fired multiple rockets from there towards various parts of town.

A security source confirmed at least 10 rockets were fired, but local media reported more. Four of the suicide bombers have died in clashes with the local security forces.

Ghani, who continued his address, said Afghans cannot be cowed by such attacks. He also said the government was prepared for such an incident on Eid.

Hashmatullah Stanikzai, a spokesman for Kabul police, said the police seized a vehicle belonging to the attackers.

Tuesday is also the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism established last year by the United Nations General Assembly. In its message, the U.N. said victims of terrorist attacks are too soon forgotten.

“We rarely hear about those who were killed and injured; the ordinary women, men, girls and boys, who were going about their daily business when their lives ended or were changed forever. We rarely hear about their surviving families, friends and communities, who must learn to live with the burden of terrorism for their entire lives,” the message said, adding, “We need to provide victims with long-term assistance, including financial, legal, medical and psychosocial support.”