Kabul’s Northgate Hotel bombed, attacked

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NEW: Police officer, three attackers killed

Taliban claim credit for truck bombing in Kabul

CNN  — 

The Taliban took credit for an explosion that targeted a Kabul, Afghanistan, hotel early Monday, the latest in a series of bombing attacks seeking to destabilize the nation.

After the explosion, three armed suicide attackers tried to gain entry into the hotel, but were engaged by police, Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, told CNN.

Two died in the gunfire, and the third blew up himself up with an explosives-packed suicide vest, Sediqqi said.

One police officer was killed and four others were wounded, he said.

The statement from the Afghan Taliban described the blast as a truck-laden suicide bombing at the gate of the Northgate Hotel, a secure, full-service facility that caters to foreign contractors from the military and civilian organizations.

The venue advertises its walled building as having security features that include guard towers, razor wire, roving patrols and teams to search all vehicles entering the premises.

“Our facility can be your refuge from the foul activities that may occur beyond the gates,” Northgate says on its website.

Gul Agha Rohani, Kabul deputy police chief, confirmed a powerful explosion, but he didn’t have any more details regarding casualties or damage.

The Taliban have claimed most of the attacks in the central Asia country, but ISIS claimed the suicide attack a week ago in Kabul that killed at least 80 and wounded more than 200 during a protest by the Hazaras, a Shia minority group. The Hazaras are a Persian-speaking people who mainly live in central Afghanistan.

On June 30, the Taliban claimed responsibility for two suicide bombers who attacked a convoy of five buses carrying 219 newly graduated Afghan police officers just west of Kabul. The attack killed 30 officers and four civilians and wounded 60, Musa Rahmati, the Paghman District chief, said at the time.

The group also claimed responsibility for an attack June 20 on a bus full of foreign security contractors, which killed at least 14 and wounded eight, said Seddiqi, the Interior Ministry spokesman. Most of the victims were citizens of Nepal.

The rash of kidnappings and Taliban bombings have heightened security fears in Kabul. U.S. and other diplomats have been barred from traveling by road the short distance from the city’s international airport to their diplomatic missions. Instead, they’ve been ferried by helicopter.

On June 5, Taliban gunmen shot up an Afghan court and the group claimed credit for killing seven people, including prosecutors and judges. The terrorist group said it was retaliating for the execution of six of its fighters.