Heavy casualties after overnight battle at Kabul hotel

People flee the scene of the attack

The attackers were affiliated with the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, according to the Interior Ministry.

Security forces rescued more than 126 people, Interior Ministry officials said.

The attack was the second in eight years at the 200-room Intercontinental Hotel, located on top of a hill.

Kam Air, an Afghan airline, said that several of their employees were killed in the attack, with some unaccounted for.

Four gunmen were also killed by Afghan security forces responding to the attack, he said.

Several armoured USA military vehicles with heavy machine guns could be seen close to the hotel along with Afghan police units as Special Forces manoeuvred around the site.

It followed security warnings in recent days to avoid hotels and other locations frequented by foreigners.

Security in Kabul has been ramped up since May 31 when a massive truck bomb killed some 150 people and wounded around 400 - mostly civilians.

Many countries, including India, had condemned the attack. Such violence has no place here or anywhere in the world, the ambassador said in a statement released on Sunday afternoon.

According to Tillerson, Washington is in contact with Afghan authorities regarding their investigation into the attack.

Global Affairs Canada now recommends Canadians avoid all travel to Afghanistan "due to the unstable security situation, ongoing insurgency, terrorist attacks, the risk of kidnapping and a high crime rate".

A statement by the Egyptian foreign ministry affirmed that "the Egyptian government and people stand in solidarity with their counterparts in Afghanistan in the face of terrorism".

Gunmen in army uniforms who stormed Kabul'sIntercontinental Hotel late on Saturday and battled Afghan Special Forces through the night killed more than 30 people and wounded many more, although the final toll of dead and wounded may still be higher.

Abdullah Sabet, an official at the communications and information technology ministry, said IT officials from around the country were staying at the hotel ahead of a conference on Sunday. Also at the hotel, guests had gathered for a wedding ceremony.

Mr. Danish said that the attackers appeared to include suicide bombers. He said it was a "moral outrage that the Taliban entered the hotel with the intention of killing civilians". "All parties to the armed conflict in Afghanistan are bound to uphold their obligations under worldwide humanitarian law, at all times".

"The United States strongly condemns yesterday's attack at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul".

"We convey our deepest sympathies for those who have lost their loved ones and our honest prayers and wishes are for early recovery of those who have sustained injuries in this heinous terror attack".



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