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Fighters have attacked a prison compound in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, and a battle with security forces is under way, according to officials, in an attack claimed by the ISIL (ISIS) group that left at least three people killed and 20 others wounded.

The complex assault on Sunday began with a suicide bomber detonating a car laden with explosives near the entrance of the government-run facility, followed by multiple attackers opening fire on security guards.

Afghan police and special forces were deployed to the scene and an hours-long gun battle with the assailants ensued.

Tariq Arian, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said at least three people were killed. Afghan officials however, said the death toll could rise.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Bilal Sarwary, a freelance journalist based in Kabul, said he was told by an inmate that a number of prisoners were also wounded.

"Several security towers were being controlled by the militants," Sarwary added. "It was still not clear how the group got so many weapons and ammunition in the heart of Jalalabad."

There were also reports of dozens of prisoners escaping from the facility. Nangarhar police spokesman Tareq Aziz told AFP news agency that about 100 inmates tried to escape but many of them were captured by security forces.

But Ahmad Ali Hazarat, the head of Nangarhar provincial council, told AFP that a "large number" of them had managed to escape.

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 final day of a rare truce between it and the Afghan government to mark the Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday.

The prison attack came a day after the Afghan intelligence agency said a senior ISIL commander was killed by Afghan special forces near Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province.

Nangarhar has been hit by regular attacks, several of them claimed by ISIL.

On May 12, a suicide bomber killed 32 mourners at a funeral for a police commander in the province, in one of the deadliest attacks this year also claimed by ISIL.


Afghanistan's Jalalabad ISIS group
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