Afghanistan, attack at the Intercontinental hotel in Kabul: at least 15 dead and wounded. Hear three loud explosions

Afghanistan, attack at the Intercontinental hotel in Kabul: at least 15 dead and wounded.  Hear three loud explosions

A suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance. Police: "Four assailants are inside the building and shoot customers". Desperate calls from the guests: "Let's hear firing, help us". The fourth floor and the kitchens are on fire. In 2011, 20 people died in a Taliban attack. Last Thursday, the US State Department had issued a tweet about possible, imminent attacks

Four armed men attacked the Intercontinental hotel in Kabul: a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance, allowing at least 4 armed men to break into the building and start firing on guests and taking hostages. The Afghan police did so. "Four assailants are inside the building," added an official source, and "shoot customers". There would be "at least 15 dead and wounded". An eyewitness who escaped from the hotel, as quoted by Tolo News, told the story. The main roads leading to the hotel have been closed, international media reports. According to intelligence sources, no Italian appears to be staying in the hotel, nor would any Italians be directly or indirectly involved. 

Three strong explosions in the hotel were warned, within a few minutes of each other. This is reported by witnesses cited by the Tolo News agency. It can not be excluded that the terrorists were barricaded with an unknown number of hostages. High flames rise from the upper floors of the hotel. The fire would have been set by terrorists in a fourth-floor kitchen, according to official Afghan sources.

The attack began at 9 pm local time (5.30 pm) in Italy with an explosion in which the command opened the way, then electricity was interrupted, explained a source of counter-terrorism security. The assailants set fire to the kitchens and were then barricaded on the fourth and fifth floors of the building. The Afghan special forces have surrounded the area and, according to some reconstructions, are exchanging gunshots with the assailants. Ambulances "are on the spot waiting for the go-ahead" to let rescuers enter, said Afghan health minister Wahid Majrooh.

A guest of the hotel tells of "hearing the crackle of machine guns coming from somewhere near the first floor". Others reported having locked themselves in the rooms and asked the security forces to save them. "We are hidden in our rooms - said a guest calling for help on the phone - I ask the security forces to help us as soon as possible before they reach us and kill us". 

According to an agent of the security forces, the terrorists are armed also with RPG (launches portable anti-tank rockets, "rocket propelled grenade" ed ). "At the moment I'm on the third and fourth floors (the one on fire, ed) and they are fighting with our forces. We still have no details (official) about the victims but they also focused on the kitchens, "said Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi, 

last Thursday the US State Department had issued an alert on possible, upcoming attacks on hotels In Kabul, in a tweet, the American Foreign Ministry wrote: "Security alert in Kabul. News that extremist groups could prepare an attack on hotels in Kabul, such as the Baron hotel near the Hamid Karzai airport ".

The Intercontinental is a 5-star hotel located in the west of Kabul and was the first western-style luxury hotel built in the Afghan capital in 1969. The hotel has 200 rooms and hosts many foreigners. It is located on a hill to the west of the Afghan capital and is under special surveillance on June 28, 2011 . International meetings are often held in the hotel and this morning hosted a conference on Chinese investments in Afghanistan. 

In the previous attack of  2011 , which took place by the Taliban in ways similar to those of today, at the end of a siege lasting five hours, 20 people died, including nine assailants. At the moment, no group has claimed responsibility for the current attack.

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