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Taliban strike Kabul hotel

KABUL, Afghanistan, June 28 (UPI) -- An upscale hotel came under attack by the Taliban in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday night, a spokesman for the insurgent group said.

The New York Times reported a Western security official said early reports indicated there were as many as six attackers and that 10 people died.

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The attackers, including suicide bombers, armed with rocket grenades and small arms hit the Intercontinental Hotel about 10 p.m. Tuesday and the attack lasted into Wednesday. Afghan security forces were battling the insurgents, Chief of Criminal Investigation Mohammed Zahir told CNN.

International Security Assistance Force spokesman Maj. Tim James told CNN ISAF helicopters -- operating under NATO command -- were used to fire on insurgents on the hotel roof about 4 hours after the attack began. ISAF said Afghan forces had cleared the roof and were working their way through the rest of the Intercontinental.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack on the hotel, which is popular with international visitors and is where an update on the planned transition of security from international to Afghan forces was to be discussed, the U.S. news network said.

Police Gen. Mohammed Zahir told the Times at least three suicide bombers had entered the hotel.

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"All the Afghan forces are near and around the hotel and the fighting is still going on and we are trying to kill them," he said.

Mujahid told the Times Taliban fighters had "gone through several stories of the building and they are breaking into each room and they are targeting the 300 Afghans and foreigners who are staying." The U.S. newspaper said his claims could not be verified.

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