Group of suicide bombers launch attack on hotel in Kabul
Sheetal Sukhija - Sunday 21st January, 2018
Details of the incident and information about casualties remains unclear
A group of three or four gunmen are said to have attacked the Intercontinental Hotel
There have been no claims of responsibility for the attack so far
KABUL, Afghanistan - In what came as the latest attack in a series of terrorist attacks to target Afghanistan, a group of three or four gunmen attacked a prominent western-style hotel in the country’s capital, Kabul on Saturday.
The interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said that the gunmen exchanged fire with security forces after storming the Intercontinental Hotel.
Danish added that the attackers appeared to have included suicide bombers, but has so far, not revealed any details of the incident or casualties.
Another Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said that they believe four gunmen attacked the hotel, adding that the kitchen and parts of the hotel is on fire.
According to Rahimi, Afghan special forces had cleared the first floor.
Initial media reports also claimed that "insurgents" had entered the building and were holding people hostage and that heavy gunfire ensued.
A report in AFP quoted a guest, who said he was hiding in his room in the hotel as saying that he could hear gunfire and explained, "I don't know if the attackers are inside the hotel but I can hear gunfire from somewhere near the first floor. We are hiding in our rooms. I beg the security forces to rescue us as soon as possible before they reach and kill us."
Local reports pointed out that the hotel is located on a hilltop and is heavily protected like most public buildings in the city.
The Intercontinental Hotel is one of two main luxury hotels in Kabul.
It is used for events including conferences attended by government officials.
This is not the first time the hotel has come under attack and was previously targeted by Taliban fighters in 2011 who stormed the hotel and set off explosions and exchanging gunfire with authorities for hours.
Later, pressure from Afghan snipers and a NATO helicopter forced three of the remaining bombers to blow themselves up that killed 11 Afghan civilians who were workers at the hotel, along with two policemen.
So far, there has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
The attack, however, was the latest in a series of attacks witnessed in Kabul over the recent period.
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