Four western cyclists killed in Tajikistan hit-and-run

Four western cyclists killed in Tajikistan hit-and-run”

YouTube screenshot Two American and two Dutch cyclists were killed bin the mountains of Tajikistan by a driver that mowed into a bike touring group.

Five people suspected of involvement in the attack were killed by police and at least four suspects detained, according to separate police accounts.

Swiss Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Silvia Mueller said that while the circumstances of the crash were unclear, the Swiss government's travel advice for Tajikistan notes there is a risk of attacks and poor road travel conditions in the Central Asian country.

An ISIS-affiliated group later took responsibility for the attack on Twitter, ABC reported.

The men in the vehicle then attacked the survivors with knives and guns, the interior ministry said.

The attackers "were soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the attack in response to calls to target the citizens of the coalition countries", a statement by the group said.

The U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe confirmed the deaths of American citizens.

'(The suspects) had knives and firearms, ' said interior minister Ramazon Hamro Rahimzoda, adding that two other cyclists, Swiss and Dutch nationals, were injured and hospitalised.

Authorities in Tajikistan said the attack, which was initially thought to be a hit-and-run, appeared deliberate.

AFP, citing officials in Tajikistan, reported that two other suspects in the incident were killed.

"We are considering all possibilities, including a road accident, murder and others", Rakhimzoda said.

The U.S. Embassy did not disclose further details due to privacy concerns. "At this point, we can not say with confidence that a terrorist act or some other crime has been committed". "Our condolences go out to the victims' families, and we will continue to work with Tajik authorities in the ongoing investigation", the statement said.

President Emomali Rakhmon, whose hometown is near the site of the attack, expressed his condolences to the leaders of the United States, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Tajikistan had declared 2018 "a year of tourism" and authorities have been cautious about labeling the incident as terrorism.

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