Kabul: Gunmen 'attacking Intercontinental Hotel'

World       by Dawood Rehman | Published

World by Dawood Rehman | Published

"Our special forces are entering the building", said General Afzal Aman, commander of the Kabul Garrison, an elite unit of police and soldiers that is responsible for security in the capital, who was reached by mobile phone at the scene.

The US State Department on Thursday warned of a possible impending attack in the Afghan capital.

At least 10 people had been reported dead at after up to four gunmen and four suicide bombers had forced their way into the hotel. "Some parts of the building caught fire following the gunfire and grenade explosions", an eyewitness told Xinhua earlier. The Interior Ministry has confirmed the attack.

In June 2011, seven Taliban fighters attacked the same hotel over several hours.

Security at the Intercontinental, which is not part of the global InterContinental chain, is relatively lax compared with other luxury hotels in Kabul.

Bare-chested Putin takes dip in icy lake for Epiphany
Putin was photographed with his shirt off while on a spearfishing vacation in the southern mountain lake in Siberia. In August 2009, a bare-chested Putin was pictured riding a horse during a Siberian holiday.

An AFP reporter who attended the conference passed through two vehicle security checkpoints.

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.

The officials told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that the assailants were exchanging fire with Afghan security forces.

On Thursday, the USA embassy in Kabul issued a warning to USA citizens, saying "We are aware of reports that extremist groups may be planning an attack against hotels in Kabul".

The deadliest of the recent attacks happened at a Shiite cultural centre on December 29 when a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing more than 40 people.

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