Gunmen in Afghanistan stormed the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, killing five and laying siege to the building during a siege spanning more than 12 hours Saturday.
People were seen trying to escape through windows on the fourth and fifth floors as the fighting raged inside, TV footage shows.
A fire erupted during the attack, scorching the building’s facade.
More than 150 people — including 41 foreigners — were rescued from the hotel as a security force searched the building room by room. At least six civilians were reportedly wounded in the attack, said Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish.
Black smoke rises from the Intercontinental Hotel after an attack in Kabul.
A foreigner was among the slain.
The Taliban terrorist group claimed responsibility for the deadly assault. A group of attackers, which included three or four gunman and suicide bombers, at one point exchanged fire with the security forces, Danish said. Bodies of four attackers were found as the landmark building was cleared.
The Intercontinental is one of two main luxury hotels used for conferences attended by government officials, and is heavily guarded by security. It’s on a hilltop in the city’s Bagh-e Bala area and is heavily guarded.
Gunmen exchanged fire with security forces at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday, Jan. 20. Here, security forces keep watch near the attack.
A private security firm assumed responsibility for protecting the hotel about three weeks ago, according to the Interior Ministry.
It was previously attacked by Taliban fighters in 2011. Twenty-one people were killed.
The attackers reportedly targeted guests Saturday, who feared for their lives as they hid in hotel rooms and begged for their rescue.