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9 dead in Serena Hotel attack flayed by Karzai

9 dead in Serena Hotel attack flayed by Karzai

Mar 21, 2014 - 09:46

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Four foreigners and five Afghans have been killed in a suicide attack on a luxury hotel in the heart of Kabul, Interior Ministry officials said on Friday.

Four teenage suicide attackers were also killed after a two-hour clash with security personnel inside the Serena Hotel, frequented by high-ranking Afghan and foreign officials.

Deputy Minister Gen. Ayub Salangi said the dead included two womeninfo-icon and children. Both women were foreigners, according to Salangi, who did not give their nationalities.

One of the victims was a former Paraguayan diplomat, who had come to Afghanistaninfo-icon as an election observer. Paraguay's Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga identified the election observer as Luis Maria Duarte.

Interior Ministry spokesman Siddique Siddiqui wrote on his Twitter page: "Eight civilian including, three women, three men and two children were killed during the terrorist attack on Serena Hotel last night."

The two children were shot in the head. The foreigners were from Canada, New Zealand, India and Pakistaninfo-icon. A child, a hotel guard, two Afghan soldiers and a parliamentarian were among the injured.

Meanwhile, President Hamid Karzai denounced the attack as an abortive attempt by outsiders to keep from Afghanistan attaining stability and self-reliance.

In a statement from his office, the president called the assault an inhuman act of Afghanistan’s enemies. He praised security forces’ quick and courageous response.  

Security personnel surrounded the building after bursts of gunfire erupted at about 9.15pm, followed by a powerful blast, he told journalists at the site.

The assault ended at 11pm with the killing of four terrorists, armed with pistols and hand grenades. The attackers entered the hotel through the backdoor.

He blamed the hotel's guards for laxity that let the terrorists enter the heavily-fortified building at 6pm. Two wounded Serena staffers were under medical care at hospital, he said, adding the incident was under investigation.

Afghan lawmaker Qais Hassan, who was staying at Serena at the time of the incident, said the clash ended at 11pm. "As of now the situation is calm," he added.

The Talibaninfo-icon claimed responsibility for the assault, with the group's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid saying the attackers were armed with weapons, hand grenades and suicide vests. A large number of foreign and Afghan officials were killed, he added.



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