Gunmen launch siege at Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul

(CNN) — Afghan special forces traded fire Sunday morning with the remaining gunmen who attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul hours earlier, Afghanistan’s TOLO news channel reported.

The gunfire intensified about 4 a.m. Sunday (6:30 p.m. Saturday ET), TOLO said. Ambulances came to the scene during a lull in the shooting, a witness who lives near the hotel told CNN.

Nasrat Rahimi, a deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Interior Affairs, earlier told CNN that Afghan special forces were trying to engage the attackers.

Two of four attackers in the hotel have been killed, Rahimi said. 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.

TOLO and Afghan station 1TV News later quoted an interior ministry spokesperson as saying five civilians had been killed and six injured in the attack. One hundred people had been rescued from the hotel, 16 of them foreigners, both broadcasters said on Twitter citing the ministry. They said the operation to clear the hotel was ongoing.

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