Reuters International

Afghan security forces arrive at the site of an attack in Jalalabad city, eastern Afghanistan May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Parwiz

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By Rafiq Shirzad

JALALABAD, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Militant group Islamic State on Wednesday claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a television station in Afghanistan's eastern province of Nangarhar that killed a security guard as well as all three attackers and wounded at least 17 people.

Islamic State, or Daesh as it is generally known in Afghanistan, has established a stronghold in the province bordering Pakistan, where it fights both the Taliban and Afghan government forces.

As the attack unfolded, heavy gunfire could be heard from around the building of RTA, Afghanistan's national broadcaster, located close to the governor's compound in the provincial capital, Jalalabad.

"Islamic State fighters are currently carrying out an attack inside the state broadcasting building in the city of Jalalabad," the movement's AMAQ news agency said in a statement on instant messaging service Telegram.

The Taliban, which also has a strong presence in the region, denied responsibility.

Two of the attackers blew themselves up at the start of the operation but a third engaged security forces in a heavy gunbattle before being killed, said Attaullah Khughyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

Nine of the 17 wounded were discharged from a hospital after being treated, he added.

Islamic State has recently been hit hard by U.S. air strikes and special forces operations.

The head of Islamic State in Afghanistan, Abdul Hassib, was reported this month to have been killed in a joint Afghan-U.S. operation in Nangarhar at the end of April.

Islamic State has also claimed responsibility for a series of high-profile attacks in the capital, Kabul, including one in March on Afghanistan's largest military hospital.

(Additional reporting by Mohamed el Sherif in CAIRO; writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Robert Birsel and Clarence Fernandez)

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