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Gunmen attack Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel, open fire on guests

The file photo shows the exterior of the Intercontinental Hotel in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

A group of gunmen have attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in the Afghan capital, Kabul, shooting at guests.

“Four attackers are inside the building,” an official at the Afghan intelligence agency told AFP on Saturday, adding that they are “shooting at guests.”

The unnamed official from the National Directorate of Security said the fourth floor of the hotel was on fire.

The occupants inside the hotel are hiding on the second floor, a security source said.

According to Najib Danish, a spokesman for the interior ministry, the attack began at about 21:00 local time (16:30 GMT). He said, however, that there were no immediate details of possible casualties, adding that the assailants appeared to include those equipped with explosive vests.

Electricity was cut after an initial blast at the hilltop hotel, one of two main luxury hotels in Kabul, a counterterrorism source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

No individual or group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. The Daesh Takfiri terrorist group has claimed most of the recent attacks in the Afghan capital, but authorities suspect that the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani Network might have been involved in some of the assaults.

The Intercontinental Hotel was last attacked in June 2011, when a bombing killed 21 people, including 10 civilians.

Engulfed by long-running violence, many parts of Afghanistan remain plagued by militancy despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops. In 2001, the United States and its NATO allies invaded the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror, but the ongoing occupation has failed to bring peace back to Afghanistan 17 years later.

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