At Least 4 Attackers Target State-Owned Luxury Hotel In Kabul

The Inter Continental Hotel is situated on a hill overlooking Kabul

Several people had been killed and at least six wounded in the raid, which came days after a United States embassy warning of possible attacks on hotels in Kabul, Nasrat Rahimi, an interior ministry spokesman, said.

According to the Ministry of Interior spokesman Najib Danish, at least four attackers are involved in the attack, and one of them has been shot dead by the security forces.

Hotel manager Ahmad Haris Nayab, who escaped unscathed, said people were fleeing amid bursts of gunfire from all side.

Initial reports suggest as many as four individuals stormed the popular hotel and engaged in a series of firefights with security forces.

While nobody has claimed responsibility for today's attack, the Taliban insurgents had claimed responsibility for the earlier attack on the same hotel.

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An official at the Afghan spy agency told AFP that the gunmen were "shooting at guests". According to local police sources, several people have been taken hostage and some killed.

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. Special forces were reportedly trying to engage the attackers.

The Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul was targeted in a June 2011 suicide attack that killed 21 people, among them 10 civilians. Rahimi did not provide details on casualties but said foreign and Afghan guests were inside the hotel during the attack.

The Intercontinental Hotels Group developed the hotel, which opened in 1969.

Officials said parts of the hotel had caught fire. The Department said it had received reports of "extremist groups" planning a hotel attack in the capital, "such as [on] the Hotel Baron near Hamid Karzai Int'l Airport".

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