Five killed after gunmen storm luxury hotel in Kabul

Kabul, Jan 21: At least five people have been killed and six others injured in an attack on a luxury hotel in Kabul after it was stormed by militants, officials said on Sunday.

The incident occurred late on Saturday after gunmen burst into the Intercontinental Hotel late on Saturday, shooting at guests and staff, BBC reported.

Sporadic gun firing could still be heard early on Sunday. A thick black smoke was seen rise above the hotel as several rooms of the six-story building caught fire following the attack.

"A counter-attack is ongoing and security forces have cleared most part of the building by early Sunday," Najib Danish, spokesman of Interior Ministry, told the media, adding at least 100 people were rescued by the Afghan Special Forces.

It is not known whether any people remained in terrorist's clutch.

No one knows what is exactly ongoing in the area as security forces did not allow media and people to reach the spot. Even ambulances were lined up near the hotel and failed to reach the site.

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 on Thursday, though it highlighted another hotel near the international airport as a possible target.

The incident caused a big traffic congestion in the western neighbourhood of the city.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

Saturday's attack is not the first against the hotel. In 2011, Taliban militants attacked the same hotel, inflicting high casualties and damage.


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