(KABUL, Afghanistan.) Latest: At least five killed including gunmen as siege ends at ‘ Intercontinental Hotel ‘ #Taliban claim responsibility later for the attack according Afghan media citing medical services #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – Jan.21: Editor says this is an updated report In a statement, the ministry said that the attackers were affiliated with the Pakistan-based Haqqani network. Aside from the ministry statement, the Taliban later claim responsibility for the attack: The ministry said that 153 people — including 41 foreigners — had been rescued from the hotel #AceNewsDesk reports

There have been varying reports on the number of victims, with TOLO news channel and Afghan station 1TV News both putting the death toll at five and injured at six: Both broadcasters also reported that shots were heard after the Interior Ministry declared the siege ended……..TOLO tweeted around 1 p.m. Sunday (3:30 a.m. ET) that two attackers were still inside the hotel and that gunfire could be heard.
Security forces near the Intercontinental Hotel after the attack.Security forces near the Intercontinental Hotel after the attack Gunmen attacked the hotel about 9 p.m. Saturday (11:30 a.m. ET) and were still trading fire with Afghan special forces Sunday morning, with gunfire intensifying about 4 a.m. Sunday, the station reported earlier………Ambulances came to the scene during a lull in the shooting, a witness who lives near the hotel told CNN.

Guests try to escape

Rahimi earlier told CNN that Afghan special forces were trying to engage the attackers. He said the hotel’s third floor, where the kitchen is located, had caught fire……..TOLO reported that foreign troops were also at the hotel. Lotfullah Najafizada, the head of the broadcaster said on Twitter that the last attacker was on the hotel’s top floor……….Desperate guests and staff trying to escape from burning #Kabul Intercontinental Hotel as siege enters 11th hour.— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) 3:54 AM – Jan 21, 2018……..Desperate guests and staff trying to escape from burning #Kabul Intercontinental Hotel as siege enters 11th hour. pic.twitter.com/MZrty8WIa3— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) January 21, 2018……..TOLO showed images of people apparently hanging off balconies, saying they were “desperate guests and staff trying to escape” from the burning hotel……..The attackers had been in the kitchen, then moved to the fourth floor, an Afghan special forces commander told CNN.

Haqqani network

The US State Department had warned this week of a possible attack in Kabul………”Security Alert for #Kabul, #Afghanistan: reports that extremist groups may be planning an attack against hotels in Kabul, such as the Hotel Baron near Hamid Karzai Int’l Airport,” the agency said Thursday on Twitter…….Security Alert for #Kabul, #Afghanistan: reports that extremist groups may be planning an attack against hotels in Kabul, such as the Hotel Baron near Hamid Karzai Int’l Airport. Review suggested actions in attached image. For more information, visit: http://ow.ly/2BEr30hRn8Z — Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov)3:40 PM – Jan 18, 2018…….Security Alert for #Kabul, #Afghanistan: reports that extremist groups may be planning an attack against hotels in Kabul, such as the Hotel Baron near Hamid Karzai Int’l Airport. Review suggested actions in attached image. For more information, visit: https://t.co/vxivPWIHOP pic.twitter.com/CrCIpXbC2e— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) January 18, 2018…….The Haqqani network accused by the Afghan Interior Ministry of being behind the attack, is based in the Pakistani tribal area of Waziristan, and known for its high-profile attacks on Western targets in Afghanistan…….The network maintains close ties to al Qaeda and the Taliban and seeks to reestablish Taliban rule in Afghanistan…….In 2001, then-US Ambassador Ryan Crocker accused the Haqqani network of a day-long attack against the US Embassy in Kabul….President Trump announced in early January that his administration would suspend aid to Pakistan until the country took more assertive steps to reign in terror organisations, referencing the Haqqani network by name…….On Sunday, a spokesperson from Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement condemning the attack on the Intercontinental in Kabul, describing it as a “dastardly terrorist attack.“…….”We reiterate our strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. In our view, cooperation among the states is important for effectively combating and eliminating the scourge of terrorism,” the statement said……The British ambassador to Afghanistan, Nicholas Kay, also tweeted his condolences, saluting the bravery of the Afghan security forces…….”When it’s over, Kabul will show its resilience again,” Kay said………Gunmen have killed at least five people in an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, according to local media citing the Afghan government http://cnn.it/2rmlIFy pic.twitter.com/vLznbxlfM4

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