According to Reuters, a group of gunmen launched an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday. Initial reports suggest as many as four individuals stormed the popular hotel and engaged in a series of firefights with security forces. Ahmad Haris Nayab, a hotel manager who managed to flee the scene without sustaining any injuries, told Reuters “the attackers had managed to get inside and people were fleeing amid bursts of gunfire on all sides.” As for possible casualties, neither Nayab nor Afghanistan’s interior ministry were able to offer any detailed information.
CNN reports, per interior ministry spokesperson Najib Danish, “Special forces have arrived at the scene and are battling the attackers.” Meanwhile, deputy spokesperson Nasrat Rahimi told reporters at least for gunman had entered the hotel. Military officials explained the group had initially entered the premises via the hotel kitchen and had since worked its way up to the fourth floor of the building. On Thursday, the U.S. State Department issued a security alert for Kabul, noting “extremist groups may be planning an attack against hotels in Kabul, such as the Hotel Baron near Hamid Karzai Int’l Airport.”
As of this writing, no particular terrorist group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack at Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel. According to CNN, however, this isn’t the first time the hotel popular among foreign visitors to Afghanistan has been attacked. In 2011, seven Taliban fighters launched a series of attacks against the facility that resulted in their deaths and the deaths of 11 other people.
UPDATE #1: According to CNN, at least two of the gunmen have been killed by Afghan security forces. Meanwhile, the hotel kitchen through which the group entered has caught fire.