Kabul: Dramatic images show man using bedsheets to escape hotel attacked by gunmen
At least one person could be seen climbing over a top-floor balcony using bedsheets to escape, before losing his grip and plunging to the ground.world Updated: Jan 21, 2018 11:53 IST
Television footage is emerging showing victims trying to escape through windows of the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul after an overnight siege that left five people dead.
Images broadcast on Afghanistan’s Tolo News showed thick black smoke and flames billowing from the top floor of the hotel.
At least one person could be seen climbing over a top-floor balcony using bedsheets to escape, before losing his grip and plunging to the ground.
Four gunmen burst into the hotel on Saturday night, opening fire on guests and staff and taking dozens of people hostage, including foreigners.
Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said at least five other people had been killed and six wounded, a lower casualty total than earlier feared, while 153 people, including 41 foreigners had been evacuated.
The bodies of four attackers were recovered as security forces continued to clear the landmark building, he said.
The raid came just days after a US embassy warning of possible attacks on hotels in Kabul.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The raid was the latest in a long series of attacks which have underlined the city’s precarious situation and the ability of militants to mount high profile operations aimed at undermining confidence in the Western-backed government.
Hotel manager Ahmad Haris Nayab, who escaped unhurt, said the attackers had got into the main part of the hotel through a kitchen before going through the hotel.
According to one witness, who did not want to be named, the attackers took hotel staff and guests hostage.
The Intercontinental Hotel, an imposing 1960s structure set on a hilltop and heavily protected like most public buildings in Kabul, was previously attacked by Taliban fighters in 2011.
It is one of two main luxury hotels in the city and had been due to host an information technology conference on Sunday. More than 100 IT managers and engineers were on site when the attack took place, Ahmad Waheed, an official at the telecommunications ministry, said.