Wednesday, August 22, 2018, 01:23:06 AM

Gunmen storm Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul

International Desk |
Update: 2018-01-21 9:15:57 AM
Gunmen storm Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul
A 2011 image showing smoke and flames rising from hotel after coming under attack (Photo: collected)

DHAKA: At least four gunmen have launched an attack on Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel, reports BBC quoting Afghan officials.

Special forces killed two of the attackers, an interior ministry spokesman said, and are trying to get to the others.

The gunmen stormed the hotel on Saturday evening (January 20), shooting at guests and detonating grenades.

At least five people have been injured, officials said. It is not clear how many have been killed.

The attack began at about 21:00 local time (16:30 GMT), with reports suggesting the gunmen shot at security guards as they made their way into the five-storey building.

They targeted staff and guests before special forces were called in.

Some reports said the hotel had been hosting an IT conference attended by provincial officials at the time. One witness told Reuters news agency that the attackers had taken hostages.
The attack comes just days after the US embassy in Kabul issued a warning about hotels in the city.

"We are aware of reports that extremist groups may be planning an attack against hotels in Kabul," the embassy wrote in a public security alert published Thursday, though it highlighted another hotel near the international airport as a possible target.

A guest at the hotel told AFP news agency that people were hiding in their rooms.

"I don't know if the attackers are inside the hotel but I can hear gunfire," the guest said.

The Intercontinental is a state-owned hotel which often hosts weddings, conferences and political gatherings.

It was attacked by the Taliban in 2011. Twenty-one people were killed including nine attackers.
Security has been tightened in Kabul since last May, when a huge truck bomb killed at least 150 people.

However, there have been several attacks in recent months.

BDST: 0916 HRS, JAN 21, 2018

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