Kabul’s Park Palace Hotel siege ends, 5 confirmed dead
Party was going on at hotel to honour a Canadian, U.S. witness tells AP
Thomson Reuters Posted: May 13, 2015 5:07 PM ET Last Updated: May 13, 2015 8:26 PM ET
Police say the hours-long siege at a guesthouse in the Afghan capital has ended with five people dead, six wounded and 54 hostages rescued.
Kabul Police Chief Abdul Rahman said early Thursday that the attack began at 8:30 p.m. local time Wednesday, when gunmen opened fire at the restaurant of the Park Palace Hotel.
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He did not provide the nationalities of the victims or any other details. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul said one American was killed in the attack.
At least two Indian nationals were also killed and three who had lived at the guest house were rescued and sheltering at the India Embassy, a diplomat told Reuters.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
Party for Canadian
Amin Habi, a U.S. citizen from Los Angeles, told The Associated Press that a party was going on to honour a Canadian when the gunmen stormed the guest house.
Caitlin Workman, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Affairs Department, said Canada was aware of reports of “a shooting and hostage taking at Kabul’s Park Palace Hotel.”
“Consular officers in Kabul and in Ottawa remain in contact with local authorities to get more information,” Workman said by email. “All staff at the Canadian Embassy in Kabul are safe and accounted for.”
Kolola Pushta is home to several international guest houses and hotels and is near both the Ministry of Interior and the Indian Embassy. India’s ambassador to Afghanistan tweeted that all Indian nationals were reported safe.
Attack in Helmand
Earlier on Wednesday, gunmen opened fire at a meeting of prominent Muslim clerics in the southern province of Helmand, killing at least seven people, police official Jan Aqa said.
The Ulemma Council, the highest religious authority in a deeply conservative country, had repeatedly announced its support for security forces fighting the hardline Islamist Taliban insurgents.
The Taliban have stepped up attacks since they announced their “spring offensive” last month, after most foreign forces pulled out at the end of last year, and claimed responsibility for the Helmand assault.
Ousted from power in 2001, the Taliban have been fighting to bring down the U.S.-backed government in Kabul.
Earlier this month, insurgent suicide bombers twice attacked buses carrying staff belonging to the attorney general’s office in Kabul, killing at least four people.