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Published: Sun, January 21, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Gunmen launch attack on hotel in Afghan capital

Gunmen launch attack on hotel in Afghan capital

KABUL, Afghanistan - Four gunmen attacked Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel on January 20, Saturday, and started shooting at guests, an Afghan official said, in the latest violence to strike the Afghan capital.

Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said Afghan special forces have arrived at the hotel in response to the incident.

In 2014, nine people, including children, were killed during a Taliban attack on Kabul's Serena Hotel.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility.

In 2011, Taliban militants attacked the same hotel, inflicting heavy casualties and damage.

At least five people have been injured, officials said.

Smoke rises from Kabul hotel attack site on Jan. 21 2018
Smoke rises from Kabul hotel attack site on Jan. 21 2018

A guest hiding in a room said they could hear gunfire, telling AFP news agency: "I beg the security forces to rescue us as soon as possible before they reach and kill us". Meanwhile, deputy spokesperson Nasrat Rahimi told reporters at least for gunman had entered the hotel.

As pressure on the battlefield has increased, security officials have warned that the danger of attacks on high profile targets in Kabul and other cities would increase.

The attackers have also reportedly set the hotel on fire.

"We don't know the details yet but our forces are in the area to bring them down", Danish said.

The Intercontintal hotel, opened in 1969, was the first worldwide hotel in the country. On Thursday, the U.S. State Department issued a security alert for Kabul, noting "extremist groups may be planning an attack against hotels in Kabul, such as the Hotel Baron near Hamid Karzai Int'l Airport". They include a bomb at a Shia cultural centre last month that killed more than 40 people.

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