18 die in Kabul hotel attack

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Nine militants who targeted a Kabul hotel in a suicide attack killed nine other people today, Wednesday, June 29, 2011.

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Nine militants who targeted a Kabul hotel in a suicide attack killed nine other people today, Wednesday, June 29, 2011. Spokesman for the Afghanistan Interior Ministry, Siddiq Siddiqi, said six of the militants died when detonating their explosives and the other three were killed on the hotel roof by NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) snipers.

Two police officers are among the dead in the attack at the Hotel Inter-Continental, which began Tuesday night and continued into early Wednesday, according to the Afghan Interior Ministry. Officials described the other seven victims as civilians.

One was a Spanish citizen, Spain’s news agency EFE reported, citing a family source. Antonio Planas, a 48-year-old pilot, leaves behind a wife and a daughter.

Two Special Operations Forces from New Zealand “received moderate injuries” in responding to the attack, the New Zealand military said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the siege. Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said suicide attackers entered the hotel after killing security guards at the entrance. “One of the suicide attackers told us on the phone that they are in the lobby and chasing guests into their rooms by smashing the doors of the rooms,” Mujahid told CNN in an email as the incident was unfolding.

But a Kabul-based official who has direct access to security information told CNN it is believed the attack was instead orchestrated by the Haqqani network, a group of terrorists loyal to the warlord Siraq Haqqani.

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