Gunmen storm Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, take hostages

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A group of gunmen have attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in the Afghan capital Kabul, causing multiple casualties and taking an unknown number of hostages, witnesses say. Multiple explosions have been heard.

The incident began at around 9 p.m. local time on Saturday when a group of at least 4 gunmen entered the luxury hotel in the Afghan capital. Witnesses reported hearing heavy bursts of gunfire, followed by multiple explosions.

The attack was still ongoing as of midnight and the total number of casualties was not immediately known. A witness told the Reuters news agency that an unknown number of guests and staff members were believed to have been taken hostage.

Other witnesses reported seeing several bodies outside the hotel, but security forces were still working to clear the hotel, which has more than 200 rooms. Photos from the scene showed a fire burning on at least one of the floors.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Saturday’s attack, which comes just 2 days after the U.S. Embassy warned of a terror plot. “We are aware of reports that extremist groups may be planning an attack against hotels in Kabul,” the embassy said in an alert to U.S. citizens on Thursday.

A group of gunmen stormed the hotel nearly 7 years ago, killing at least 8 people in an attack claimed by the Taliban. The Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul is not part of the InterContinental Hotels Group, which has thousands of hotels across the world.

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