Afghan Intercontinental Hotel attack: Death toll in Kabul reaches 22

Media caption,
Guests tried to escape by using bed sheets to climb down from balconies

At least 22 people have now been reported killed in a siege by gunmen at Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel, the health ministry says.

The attack ended more then 12 hours after gunmen in army uniforms entered the hotel around 21:00 local time (16:30 GMT) on Saturday.

The Taliban said their fighters were behind the attack.

Sources told national news channel, Tolo News, that the death toll could be as high as 43.

Some 160 people were rescued after Afghan troops fought through Saturday night to regain control of the building.

The gunmen - armed with rocket-propelled grenades as well as smaller weapons - took many of the guests hostage.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Gunfire could still be heard eight hours after the assault began

"They were shouting... 'Don't leave any of them alive, good or bad. Shoot and kill them all," a guest, Abdul Rahman Naseri, said.

Several guests were pictured using bed sheets to try to climb down from a top-floor balcony.

All six attackers have reportedly been killed.

Kabul police told the BBC that nine Ukrainians, one German, one Greek and one Kazakh citizen had been confirmed dead. Two other foreigners have yet to be identified.

Security has been tightened in Kabul since last May, when a huge truck bomb killed at least 150 people.

However, there have been several attacks in recent months. They include a bomb at a Shia cultural centre last month that killed more than 40 people.

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