Gunmen Attack Luxury Hotel in Kabul: 'They Are Shooting at Guests'

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

Four gunmen attacked Kabul's landmark Intercontinental Hotel today and started shooting at guests, officials said, in an assault that is still under way."Four attackers are inside the building", an official at the National Directorate of Security (NDS) spy agency told AFP.They are "shooting at guests", he said.

The state-owned hotel was the target of a Taliban attack in 2011 that left 21 people dead, including nine attackers.

The fourth floor of the hotel is also on fire, the NDS said. The attackers had been in the hotel kitchen before moving to the fourth floor.

According to one witness, who did not want to be named, the attackers took some hotel staff and guests hostage.

Afghan media is reporting multiple casualties in the attack, which comes days after a UN Security Council delegation visited Kabul for a close-up view of the conflict.

According to interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish police have cordoned off the area and are trying to bring the situation under control.




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

One was and killed by security forces and three others were still battling the forces from inside the hotel, he added.

The attack comes just days after the USA embassy in Kabul issued a warning about hotels in the city, saying it was aware of planned attacks by extremist groups.

The US embassy in Kabul had issued a warning to US citizens on Thursday, saying "We are aware of reports that extremist groups may be planning an attack against hotels in Kabul".

The attackers appeared to include suicide bombers, Mr Danish was quoted as saying by Reuters.

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