(CNN)Gunmen have killed at least five people in an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, according to local media citing the Afghan government.
Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish told media that two attackers had also been killed and a further six civilians injured, TOLO news channel and Afghan station 1TV News reported. Security forces near the Intercontinental Hotel after the attack.Danish said the operation to clear the hotel was ongoing and that 100 people had been rescued so far, 16 of them foreigners, both broadcasters said on Twitter.Gunmen attacked the hotel about 9 p.m. Saturday (11:30am ET) and were still trading fire with Afghan special forces Sunday morning, with gunfire intensifying about 4 a.m. Sunday, TOLO reported.Ambulances came to the scene during a lull in the shooting, a witness who lives near the hotel told CNN.Read MoreGuests try to escapeNasrat Rahimi, a deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Interior Affairs, earlier told CNN that Afghan special forces were trying to engage the attackers.Two of four attackers in the hotel have been killed, Rahimi said. He said the hotel’s third floor, where the kitchen is located, had caught fire. TOLO reported that foreign troops were also at the hotel. Lotfullah Najafizada, the head of the broadcaster said on Twitter that the last attacker was on the hotel’s top floor.TOLO showed images of people apparently hanging off balconies, saying they were “desperate guests and staff trying to escape” from the burning hotel.
— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) January 21, 2018 The attackers had been in the kitchen, then moved to the fourth floor, an Afghan special forces commander told CNN.Ambulance crews “are on the site, waiting for a green light to get in,” Dr. Wahid Majrooh, the country’s minister of public health, said earlier. TOLO reported some were able to take people from the hotel grounds.The US State Department had warned this week of a possible attack in Kabul.”Security Alert for #Kabul, #Afghanistan: reports that extremist groups may be planning an attack against hotels in Kabul, such as the Hotel Baron near Hamid Karzai Int’l Airport,” the agency said Thursday on Twitter.
Security Alert for #Kabul, #Afghanistan: reports that extremist groups may be planning an attack against hotels in Kabul, such as the Hotel Baron near Hamid Karzai Int'l Airport. Review suggested actions in attached image. For more information, visit: https://t.co/vxivPWIHOP pic.twitter.com/CrCIpXbC2e
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) January 18, 2018 Foreigners are among the hotel guests, but it wasn’t immediately known how many or their nationalities, Rahimi said.Hotel was attacked in 2011Flames light up the sky in the 2011 attack on the Kabul hotel.In June 2011, seven Taliban fighters attacked the same hotel over several hours. In the end, all seven, along with 11 other people, were dead.The InterContinental Hotels Group developed the hotel, which opened in 1969. But the hotel has had no association with the group since the Soviet invasion in 1979, though it continues to use the name without connection to the international company.