Gunmen have attacked a prison in the city of Jalalabad, in eastern Afghanistan, and a battle with security forces is ongoing, officials said, with reports of multiple casualties.
Sohrab Qaderi, a member of the Jalalabad provincial council, said the attackers detonated a car loaded with explosives outside the government-run facility, with two smaller explosions after the initial position.
He said the attackers had taken up positions near the prison and heavy fighting was ongoing.
“At least 20 people have been injured in the ongoing clashes,” Qaderi said, quoted by Reuters news agency.
Freelance journalist Bilal Sarwary told Al Jazeera in Kabul that he was able to speak to an inmate from the prison’s political bloc, who said a number of prisoners were injured.
“Several security towers were controlled by militants,” Bilal added.
“It was still not clear whether the group had so much weapons and ammunition in the heart of Jalalabad,” he said.
The Interior Ministry confirmed the attack, saying police and special forces were deployed to the site.
“Based on initial information, at least three people were killed and five others injured,” said Tareq Arian, spokesman for the ministry.
ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the armed group’s propaganda arm, Amaq.
Earlier, a Taliban spokesperson said on Twitter that the group was not involved in the attack, which came on the last day of a rare truce between him and the Afghan government to mark the Muslim holiday of the ‘Eid al-Adha.
Sunday’s attack came a day after the Afghan intelligence agency said that a senior ISIS commander was killed by Afghan special forces near Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province.
Nangarhar has been regularly hit by attacks, including several claimed by ISIL.
On May 12, a suicide bomber killed 32 mourners during the funeral of a police commander in the province, in one of the deadliest attacks this year also claimed by ISIL.