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Official: 9 civilians die in attack on Kabul luxury hotel

By Ed Payne, CNN
updated 12:44 AM EDT, Fri March 21, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Foreigners also died in attacks earlier this month and in January
  • The nine dead are civlians -- a mix of Afghans and foreigners
  • Four gunmen shot dead by security forces in Kabul hotel attack
  • Gunmen were all under 18 and considered "government opponents"

(CNN) -- Nine civilians died in an attack on a luxury hotel in the Afghan capital, a government official said Friday.

The dead were a mix of Afghans and foreigners, children and adults, according to Gen Mohammad Ayoub Salangi the deputy interior minister. Six people were also injured.

The incident began when four teenagers entered the Serena Hotel in central Kabul on Thursday and started shooting randomly, police said.

Afghan security forces killed the four gunmen, who police said were all under 18 and were "government opponents."

Police said they believe the gunmen entered the hotel by smuggling small pistols in their shoes, then hid in the bathroom for several hours before launching their attack.

The hotel also was the site of a shooting, in January 2008, that killed seven people. The Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack.

This is latest attack to claim the lives of foreigners in the Afghan capital. Earlier this month, gunmen shot and killed a Swedish journalist in broad daylight. In January, a bomb and gun attack by the Taliban on a restaurant in Kabul killed 21 people, most of them foreigners.

Earlier, in eastern Afghanistan, Taliban militants stormed a police station in Jalalabad, and a deadly gunbattle ensued, the country's Interior Ministry said.

At least 11 people were killed and 22 were injured at the station, and at least six attackers were killed, according to a doctor at the hospital.

This came as the militant group threatened to carry out attacks before next month's presidential election.

Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid confirmed the action to CNN. He said fighters will "continue to attack the pro-U.S. Afghan establishment."

Canada pulls out of Kabul as NATO winds down Afghan operations

Suicide blast rips through bazaar in northern Afghanistan

Journalists Zahir Shah Sherazi in Peshawar, Pakistan, and Qadir Sediqui in Kabul contributed to this report.

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