Kabul: Gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Kabul killing at least six people, including a foreigner, sparking a twelve hour fight with security forces that left terrified guests scrambling to escape and parts of the building ablaze.
Afghan security forces killed four attackers during the night-time siege, interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish told Tolo News, during which people trapped inside the landmark hotel were seen climbing over balconies to escape. “The attack is over,” he said.
“Five Afghans and one foreigner have been killed,” interior ministry deputy spokesman Nasrat Rahimi told AFP, adding around 150 people were rescued, including more than 40 foreigners.
“The body of the foreigner, a woman, was recovered from the sixth floor as the last attacker was being killed,” he added.
But an official with Afghanistan’s spy agency told AFP the attack was “not over yet” with attackers “still shooting ..
Several people could be seen climbing over a top-floor balcony using bedsheets to escape, with one losing his grip and plunging to the ground.
Officials said four gunmen burst into the hotel last night, opening fire on guests and staff and taking dozens of people hostage. Najib Danish, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said more than 100 people, including at least 16 foreigners, had been rescued — but their nationalities were not immediately known.
The bodies of at least four attackers were recovered, officials said, with Afghan Special Forces going room by room Sunday to make sure all the gunmen have been accounted for.
The gunmen stormed the hotel Saturday evening, triggering a shootout with security forces, officials said. Danish said the hotel came under attack around 9 p.m.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Several armored U.S. military vehicles with heavy machine guns, as well as Afghan police vehicles, were seen close to the hotel, Reuters reported.
Despite its name, Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel is not part of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), the news agency reported.