Sunday, 27 May, 2018

Gunmen attack Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul

FILE An Afghan man walks past the Intercontinental Hotel after an attack by Taliban fighters and a response by Afghan security forces backed by NATO helicopters in Kabul on 29 June 2011 Suicide attack under way at Kabul hotel
Wallace Pearson | 21 January, 2018, 01:32

A group of insurgents stormed the Intercontinental Hotel in Bagh-e-Bala area in Kabul city at about 9.20 pm on Saturday evening.

The Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul was targeted in a June 2011 suicide attack that killed 21 people, among them 10 civilians. There are also reports they were "shooting at guests".

'They are now on the third and fourth floors fighting with our forces.

Witnesses reported hearing intense gunfire from inside the building.

"I don't know if the attackers are inside the hotel but I can hear gunfire from somewhere near the first floor", the man, who did not want to be named, said by telephone.

However Nasrat Rahimi, another interior ministry spokesman, said several people had been killed and at least six wounded.

Unconfirmed reports indicate at least one suicide bomber was involved and attackers have used hand grenades and automatic weapons in the attack.

More than 100 IT managers and engineers were on site when the attack occurred, Ahmad Waheed, an official at the telecommunications ministry, said.

Saturday's attack is the second assault against the hotel.

Security at the Intercontinental, which is not part of the global InterContinental chain, is relatively lax compared with other luxury hotels in Kabul.

The State Department said it was monitoring the situation and was in contact with Afghan authorities to determine whether any U.S. citizens had been affected. The attackers had been in the hotel kitchen, then moved to the fourth floor, an Afghan special forces commander told CNN.

On Thursday, the USA embassy in Kabul issued a warning to American citizens, saying: "We are aware of reports that extremist groups may be planning an attack against hotels in Kabul".

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