Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Luxury Hotel Attacked by Suicide Bombers and Gunmen in Afghan Capital

Suicide bombers and gunmen launched a coordinated attack on the Intercontinental hotel in Kabul Tuesday night. Afghan sources say that 10 people were killed in the attack so far, but that number was unable to be verified independently.
An Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman says initial reports indicate three or four suicide bombers and at least two gunmen attacked the hotel. Multiple explosions have been heard on the property.

Sediq Sediqqi said Tuesday that all the bombers either blew themselves up or were killed. Two gunmen continue to fire from the roof of the hotel, he said.

"There are foreign and Afghan guests staying at the hotel," Sediqqi said. "We have reports that they are safe in their rooms, but still there is shooting."

Azizullah, an Afghan police officer who uses only one name, told The Associated Press at the scene that at least one bomber entered the hotel Tuesday night and detonated a vest of explosives.

Afghan police were battling the assailants with machine-gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades as tracer rounds went up over the blacked out building. The police have secured the area around the hotel, which is one of Kabul's most heavily guarded.

Jawid, a guest at the hotel, says the attack occurred as many people were having dinner in the hotel restaurant. He says he heard gunfire throughout the several story building.

"I was running with my family," he said. "There was shooting. The restaurant was full with guests."
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that their operatives killed some of the hotel's guards in the initial attack and entered the property from there. Afghan police say that there are at least two gunmen firing from the roof.

The attack comes less than a week after President Obama announced the withdrawal of 10,000 US troops from Afghanistan within the year.

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