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Gunmen killed at least five people and wounded eight others in an attack on Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel, an official said today, as the eleven hours-long siege continues.
Reports say that five are dead and 100 hostages have been released.
According to TOLO news, two gunmen have been shot down and the security forces are lokking for other attackers in the landmark hotel. Afghan officials have confirmed that there are no hostages in the hotel. Among the 100 rescued, 16 were foreigners. There are no reports yet of casualties among foreigners, the Afghan news channel said on Twitter.
The siege began on Saturday when at least four gunmen stormed the landmark Intercontinental Hotel in a night-time raid and started shooting at guests and staff, officials said.
So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The latest attack in the Afghan capital comes as the security agencies issued warnings in recent days to avoid hotels and other locations frequented by foreigners.
Security at the Intercontinental, which is not part of the global InterContinental chain, is relatively lax compared with other high-end hotels in Kabul.
A conference on Afghanistan-China relations was held in one of its function rooms earlier yesterday, attended by the Chinese embassy's political counsellor Zhang Zhixin.
Security alerts sent in recent days to foreigners living in Kabul warned that "extremist groups may be planning an attack against hotels in Kabul" as well as public gatherings and other locations "where foreigners are known to congregate".
The Intercontinental was last targeted in June 2011 when a suicide attack claimed by the Taliban killed 21 people, including 10 civilians.