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Kabul hotel siege ends after 12-hr standoff

Last Modified Sunday, 21 January 2018 (15:14 IST)
Kabul: Gunmen killed six people during a 12-hour siege at the in Kabul, according to spokesmen at Afghanistan's Interior Ministry.A foreigner was among those killed before forces secured the hotel Sunday morning, Deputy Ministry Spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said, while seven Afghans were also wounded, according to a report.

Spokesman Najib Danish said that Afghan Security Forces went floor-by-floor in a clearing operation of the six-storey hotel.Danish told CNN that four attackers were killed.The ministry said that 153 people -- including 41 foreigners -- had been rescued from the hotel.There have been varying reports on the number of victims, with channel and Afghan station 1TV News both putting the death toll at five and injured at six. Both broadcasters also reported that shots were heard after the Interior Ministry declared the siege ended.

Gunmen attacked the hotel about 9pm Saturday and were still trading fire with Afghan special forces Sunday morning, with gunfire intensifying about 4am Sunday, TOLOreported.Ambulances came to the scene during a lull in the shooting, a witness who lives near the hotel told CNN.

TOLO reported that 126 people were rescued from the hotel, 41 of them foreigners.
Rahimi earlier told CNN that Afghan special forces were trying to engage the attackers and that two of four attackers had been killed. He said the hotel's third floor, where the kitchen is located, had caught fire.

TOLO reported that foreign troops were also at the hotel. Lotfullah Najafizada, the head of the broadcaster said on Twitter that the last attacker was on the hotel's top floor.

TOLO showed images of people apparently hanging off balconies, saying they were "desperate guests and staff trying to escape" from the burning hotel.The attackers had been in the kitchen, then moved to the fourth floor, an Afghan special forces commander told CNN.

Ambulance crews "are on the site, waiting for a green light to get in," Dr. Wahid Majrooh, the country's minister of public health, said earlier. TOLO reported some were able to take people from the hotel grounds.

The US State Department had warned this week of a possible attack in Kabul.
"Security Alert for #Kabul, #Afghanistan: reports that extremist groups may be planning an attack against hotels in Kabul, such as the near Hamid Karzai Int'l Airport," the agency said Thursday on Twitter.

Foreigners are among the hotel guests, but it wasn't immediately known how many or their nationalities, Rahimi said.In June 2011, seven Taliban fighters attacked the same hotel over several hours. In the end, all seven, along with 11 other people, were dead.(UNI)
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