Islamic State claims attack that killed 2 American cyclists in Tajikistan

Islamic State claims attack that killed 2 American cyclists in Tajikistan”

Police in Tajikistan have linked an attack claimed by Islamic State that killed four tourists including two Americans to a banned Islamist opposition group and Iran.

The group said it carried out an attack on "citizens of the crusader coalition", but didn't provide any further evidence of its involvement.

The other two cyclists killed in the attack were from Switzerland and the Netherlands, officials said.

The seven cyclists included, as well, two Dutch nationals and three other foreigners, reported.

Thousands of people from the mainly Muslim region have joined Islamic State militants in recent years.

The Swiss authorities say they are in contact with the injured Swiss woman, her relatives and the local authorities.

Security forces pursuing suspects in the attack killed four, including one who resisted arrest, and detained a fifth man, the former Soviet republic's interior ministry said.

Two Americans, a Swiss national and a Dutch citizen were struck by a auto and attacked on Sunday while on a popular cycle route in the Danghara district, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of the capital Dushanbe, officials said.

The State Department says it is encouraging Americans to monitor government advisories for updated information on where it is safe to travel. The party's exiled leaders said they had no link to the attack, saying that Tajik authorities are using the incident for political purposes. Nicolas Moerman, a cyclist who arrived at the scene soon after, told a Flemish news station: "I asked what had happened and the first thing someone said was that they had been hit by a vehicle and that the people who had come out had started to stab them with knives".

The tourists, from the US, Switzerland and the Netherlands, were killed on Sunday.

The Associated Press reports, "Interior Minister Ramazon Rahimzoda told reporters that one of the survivors had knife wounds and police found knives and guns with some of the suspects".

One of the suspects killed by police was the 21-year-old owner of the Daewoo Leganza that struck the tourists on Sunday afternoon, Jafariddin Yusufov, who hails from the town of Nurek.

Some of them appear similar to the suspects whose photographs have been published by Tajikistan's interior ministry.

The US embassy in Tajikistan confirmed two of the fatalities were US citizens, but did not disclose names.

Three of the bikers died at the scene and the fourth at the hospital.

A video purportedly showing the incident obtained by RFE/RL supports the conclusion that the attack was deliberate.

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