Kabul hotel blast kills 6

KABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- A Taliban attack Monday on the Serena hotel, a luxury facility in the Afghan capital of Kabul, killed six people, including a Norwegian journalist.

CNN, quoting officials, said the attack injured six others at the hotel, largely patronized by foreign visitors.


The report said among those killed was an American and Carsten Thomassen a reporter for Dagbladets. The Norwegian newspaper announced the 38-year-old died at a hospital.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was quoted as saying Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, who was not injured, was the target of the attack.

Afghan government spokesman Zemari Bashary had blamed the attack on a suicide bomber, but American witness Robert Stewart said the victims died in gunfire, CNN reported.

Stewart, who said had he arrived with colleagues at the hotel for dinner and a gym workout, told CNN, "We heard small arms fire ... immediately followed by two explosions."

He said three or four of the victims were shot point blank by the attackers in the gym. He said he and others administered first aid to victims until police arrived.


Taliban spokesman Zadihullah Mujahid told the BBC the attack was carried out by four militants armed with automatic rifles, grenades and explosives jackets. The militant group said the blast was caused by a bomber detonating his explosive jacket.

The Taliban was responsible for two suicide bombings, which killed 13 people in December in the capital.

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