Suicide bombers target Kabul Intercontinental hotel

Suicide bombers target Kabul Intercontinental hotel

Nato helicopters were called in to kill three militants to end a five-hour clash at a top hotel in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The attack on the Kabul Intercontinental Hotel left two police officers, eight civilians and three other attackers dead.

But one bomber had survived and killed two policemen and a Spanish hotel guest later, said the Kabul police chief.

A Taliban spokesman said the insurgent group had carried out the attack at the Intercontinental, which is one of Kabul’s most heavily guarded hotels.

Afghan security officials confirmed that at least six militants had stormed the building, and all had been killed.

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The attack on Tuesday evening while many guests were in the dining room.

Panic broke out as one suicide bomber iblown himself up at the front of the hotel and another on the second floor.

Afghan troops and police sealed off the building and cut the power. Exchanges of gunfire were heard coming from the hotel.

Kabul police chief Gen Ayub Salangi said that one of the attackers managed to survive the assault by hiding in a hotel room.

He detonated his explosive vest at around 0700 local time, killing two policemen and a Spanish guest, and injuring three others, the police chief said.

An Afghan official said the attackers had hand-grenades, rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s.

The attack also came the night before the start of a conference about the transition of responsibility for security from Isaf to Afghan security forces.

Kabul has been relatively stable in recent months, although violence has increased across the country since the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan on 2 May, and the start of the Taliban’s “spring offensive”.

In January 2008, militants stormed the capital’s most popular luxury hotel, the Serena, and killed eight people, including an American, a Norwegian and a Philippine woman.