At least one suicide bomber blew himself up late Tuesday night inside a Western-style hotel in Kabul, police said. Afghan police were battling the assailants with machine-gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades as tracer rounds went up over the blacked out building.
Associated Press reporters at the scene heard bursts of gunfire and saw shooting from the roof of the five-story Inter-Continental hotel that sits on a hill overlooking the city. Police ordered bystanders to lay on the ground for safety. There was no immediate word on casualties in the rare, nighttime attack in the Afghan capital.
A guest who was inside also said he heard gunfire echoing throughout the building. Streets leading to the hotel were blocked and the electricity was out.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in a telephone call to the AP.
Azizullah, an Afghan police officer who uses only one name, told an Associated Press reporter at the scene that at least one bomber entered the hotel and detonated a vest of explosives. Another police officer, who would not disclose his name, said there were at least two suicide bombers.