At least six people, including a foreigner and five gunmen are dead following an 12-hour hour battle that left terrified guests scrambling to escape and parts of the Intercontinental Hotel ablaze in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul.
Saturday’s siege comes days after the U.S. embassy in Kabul had issued a warning about reports of extremist groups planning attacks against hotels in the city.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The terror group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the insurgents initially planned to attack the hotel Thursday night but postponed the assault because there was a wedding underway and they wanted to avoid civilian casualties.
Ministry spokesman Najib Danish told reporters that six people were also injured: three police officers and three civilians.
Following the siege, Afghan special forces searched room-by-room to ensure that all of the attackers had been accounted for.
Danish said 153 hotel guests and staff, including 8 foreigners, were rescued.
An official at the U.S. Department of State said that they “are monitoring the situation and are in contact with local authorities to determine if any U.S. citizens have been affected.”
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a security alert Saturday, saying a “series of explosions” erupted at the Intercontinental Hotel around 9 p.m. local time.
“The attack is reported to be ongoing at this time. Afghan authorities have announced they are reacting to the incident and a heightened police presence throughout the city is expected,” the embassy stated.