Kabul hotel attack: Gunman killed, attackers exchange fire with security forces

Group of gunmen are exchanging fire with security forces, says Interior Ministry spokesman

File photo. The Intercontinental was last targeted in June 2011 when a suicide attack killed 21 people, including 10 civilians.

Kabul: A group of four gunmen attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday and were exchanging fire with security forces, an interior ministry spokesman said.

One of the attackers were killed, said Ministry of interior spokesman Najib Danish.

The gunmen had shot at guests as they entered the hotel. Details of the incident, including information on any casualties, were unclear but the attackers appeared to have included suicide bombers, Danish said.

Another official said the attackers were armed with small weapons and rocket-propelled grenades when they blasted their way into the hotel, which often hosts weddings, conferences and political gatherings.

“They are now on the third and fourth floors fighting with our forces. We don’t know the details of casualties yet but they set the kitchen on fire,” interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi told AFP.

“Firefighters are also there to put out the fire.”

The fourth floor of the hotel, which has four restaurants and a swimming pool, is also on fire, the NDS official said.

Ministry of interior spokesmanDanish confirmed that several attackers had entered the hotel and one has been killed.

“We don’t know the details yet but our forces are in the area to bring them down,” Danish said.

There was no immediate information on casualties.

Occupants hide

Some of the occupants inside the hotel are hiding on the second floor, a security source said. Electricity was cut after an initial explosion at the hilltop hotel, a counterterrorism source said.

A guest hiding in his room in the hotel told AFP he could hear gunfire.

“I don’t know if the attackers are inside the hotel but I can hear gunfire from somewhere near the first floor,” he said without giving his name.

“We are hiding in our rooms. I beg the security forces to rescue us as soon as possible before they reach and kill us.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, the latest in a long series to have hit Kabul.

The Intercontinental was last targeted in June 2011 when a suicide attack killed 21 people, including 10 civilians.

The hotel, located on a hilltop and heavily protected like most public buildings in the city. It is one of two main luxury hotels in Kabul and is used for events including conferences attended by government officials.



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