Militants Attack Hotel in Kabul, Trade Fire With Security Forces

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An undetermined number of people have been killed or injured by four gunmen in an ongoing attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in the Afghan capital, local media reported Saturday.

Heavy gunfire is taking place at Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel, TOLOnews reports. According to local police sources, several people have been taken hostage and some killed. Security services are responding to the crisis and reports state that at least two of the gunmen have been killed.

“Our special forces are entering the building,” stated General Afzal Aman, commander of the Kabul Garrison, the security unit responsible for the nation’s capital, in a statement to Nytimes.com.

“The attackers are at one side of the building. There are guests trapped in their rooms,” he added.

Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry spokesman has confirmed to TOLOnews that the Intercontinental Hotel in the capital was attacked at about 21:00 local time (16:30 GMT) on Saturday. Reports say insurgents entered the building and police have cordoned off the area.

Two the attackers has been reportedly killed, according to the BBC.

The local Ariananews media outlet described the hotel as “heavily guarded”, which raises the question of how the militants managed to break through. According to TOLOnews, it is the second time the hotel has come under attack — in 2011, nine attackers killed 12 people while storming the building, and they were all eliminated. The high-profile hotel is known as a venue for conferences involving government officials.

More details to follow.