Death toll in Kabul hotel attack at 7
Australia relocates its Afghanistan embassy out of a popular luxury hotel in Kabul that Taliban militants stormed in a brazen, multi-pronged attack that killed seven people.Updated: Jan 15, 2008 12:33 IST
Australia said on Tuesday it relocated its Afghanistan embassy out of a popular luxury hotel in Kabul that Taliban militants stormed in a brazen, multi-pronged attack that killed seven people.
The gunmen threw grenades and fired AK-47s in the Monday evening assault, hunting down Westerners who cowered in a gym -- a coordinated assault that could signal a new era of brazen Taliban attacks. One attacker blew himself up despite heavy security at the Serena Hotel. One American and a Norwegian journalist were among the dead, officials said.
Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said the country's embassy in Afghanistan, which had been in the Serena, has been relocated. He said no embassy staff were hurt or killed in the attack. Australian officials told its citizens to avoid the Serena "at this time."
Witnesses described bullet marks, pools of blood and heavy damage inside the hotel, though no damage was seen to its exterior at daybreak today.
Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary today raised the death toll to seven. Bashary late yesterday said six people had been killed and six wounded.
More than 30 US soldiers in a half-dozen Humvees rushed to the hotel as part of a quick reaction force following the attack, and security personnel from the nearby US Embassy ran through the building looking for US citizens.
"There was blood on the floor all the way to the kitchen," said Suzanne Griffin, who had been in the hotel gym at the time of the attack. She said she had to step over the lifeless body of a woman when evacuated from the locker room.