Tajikistan probing 'attack' that left four tourists dead

A view of a bridge to Afghanistan across Panj river in Panji Poyon border outpost, south of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, May 2008.

A hit-and-run driver has killed four foreign cyclists in Tajikistan in what may have been a terrorist act, the Central Asian country's Interior Minister has said.

Tajikistan's interior minister said a auto struck a group of seven cyclists who were traveling in the country's Danghara district, southeast of the capital. The other three cyclists - also believed to be foreigners - were treated for minor injuries.

According to a police statement released Tuesday at least four people suspected of involvement in the attack were killed by police with a further four suspects detained.

Tajik police say they found a vehicle that had damage consistent with a car-bicycle collision, which lead them to the suspected assailants.

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon extended condolences to U.S. President Donald Trump, Swiss President Alain Berset, and King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander.

A purported video of the incident published online by Radio Free Europe and credited to an anonymous source showed a auto doing a U-turn on a narrow road after it had already knocked down a group of cyclists and then running over a few of them again.

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The Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for the attack on tourists in Tajikistan, SITE intelligence group reported on Monday.

Four people were killed and three wounded.

Tajikistan's interior minister confirmed that the attackers had knives and firearms. The stab victim, whose nationality was not given, was in a stable condition.

The ministry, citing the confession of a surviving suspect, said the assailants had been trained in Iran and meant to flee to neighboring Afghanistan following Sunday's attack.

The group said in a statement late Monday that several of its soldiers attacked the "citizens of the Crusader coalition, " referring to an incident on Sunday when a auto rammed into a group of foreign cyclists south of the Tajik capital Dushanbe.

The Dushanbe government banned the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) in 2015, accusing it of plotting a failed coup. Last year, Asia-Plus reported that over a thousand Tajik citizens have been fighting in the ranks of Islamic State.

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