Iran’s Foreign Ministry has summoned Tajikistan’s ambassador to protest the allegation of Tehran’s links to a recent attack that killed four Western tourists in the Central Asian country.
Previously, police in Tajikistan Tuesday appeared to blame a banned opposition party for an attack previously claimed by ISIS that left four tourists dead and was originally reported as a hit-and-run road accident.
A police statement called a detained man identified as leading an attack that killed two tourists from the United States and one each from Switzerland and the Netherlands an “active member” of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, which was banned in 2015.
Authorities in the Central Asian country offered no immediate proof of the assertion.
According to the police statement Hussein Abdusamadov, 33, who police identified as the leader of the group that attacked the tourists, is an “active member” of the IRPT and also “underwent training in Iran”, a country with whom Tajikistan has poor relations.
The extremist group had on Monday claimed the attack on a group of seven tourists cycling in the Danghara district, about 100 kilometres from Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe.
Although the attack was initially reported as a hit-and-run, Tajikistan’s interior minister Ramazon Hamro Rahimzoda said on Monday that the group was armed with “knives and firearms.”
At least one of the three tourists that survived was stabbed and is being treated in hospital, he told a press conference.
In a statement published Monday, ISIS claimed a “detachment from the soldiers of the Caliphate” had carried out the attack against “citizens of Crusader coalition countries.”
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.