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Islamic State group suspects behind Kabul twin bombing arrested: Officials

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Kabul, Afghanistan Feb 15, 2019, 10.50 AM (IST)

Afghan spy agency says it has arrested two operatives from the Islamic State group suspected to be behind a twin bombing at a sports club in Kabul last year that killed at least 26 people, including two journalists.

In a statement on Thursday, the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) said the two men who "had planned and facilitated" the deadly attack had been detained in Kabul, though it did not mention the date and time of their arrest.

In the twin bombing last September, a suicide bomber first blew himself up inside a wrestling hall in a heavily Shiite neighbourhood of west Kabul, followed by a car bomb that detonated as journalists and security forces gathered at the scene.

Two journalists -- a reporter and cameraman -- working for local Tolo News, were among the 26 dead, while at least four journalists were also among 70 people wounded in the attack.

The arrests come days after the Afghan spy agency said it had detained three suspected of being behind a truck bombing that killed 150 people in Kabul's diplomatic area in May 2017.

In a statement, the NDS said the trio -- who were members of the Haqqani network, an ally of the Taliban -- were also accused of planning a separate suicide bombing last November that killed five employees of a multinational security company G4S in Kabul.

Separately, police in northern Afghanistan announced on Thursday they had detained one suspect in connection with the murder of two Afghan journalists who were killed in Takhar province last week.

The pair, both men in their 20s, were gunned down inside the studios of Radio Hamsada, a private broadcaster based in Taloqan, the capital of Takhar province on February 5th.

Khalil Aseer, a spokesman for the provincial police described the suspect 
as an "illegal armed man" saying they were investigating the motive behind the killing.

Journalists and media workers have paid a heavy price covering the Afghan conflict with at least 15 of them killed in 2018, the deadliest year yet for the Afghan media, according to Reporters Without Border(RSF).

Three Afghan journalists have been killed so far this year.

Story highlights

In a statement on Thursday, the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) said the two men who 'had planned and facilitated' the deadly attack had been detained in Kabul, though it did not mention the date and time of their arrest.