Gunshots have been reported at Serena Hotel in the center of Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital.
UPDATE: The Taliban is taking responsibility for the attack. Original story below.
The hotel is home to many foreigners and is described as a luxury hotel that is set in landscaped gardens and overlooks the city’s famous Zarnegar Park. It’s frequented by journalists, NGO workers, and diplomats. It’s also near the presidential palace.
Gunmen were reported inside the hotel before the shooting started.
“Serena security guards confirmed to me there was a gunman firing inside the hotel but said nothing about casualties,” reported Hafizullah Maroof of BBC via Twitter.
“Afghan security officials have confirmed that gunmen are in #SERENA hotel in #Kabul and fight is still going and I heard huge bangs,” added Afghan journalist Sabawoon Sadiq, also via Twitter.
BBC later reported that men armed with pistols got into an argument and started shooting and that two people were shot.
However, local broadcaster 1 TV reported that Afghanistan police were battling insurgents, who also caused multiple explosions with frag grenades.
“This is a very bad incident because it just happened in the first hour of the Persian New Year,” reported journalist Mustafa Kazemi via Twitter.
ABC, citing a witness, said that Afghan Special Forces entered the hotel following the attack, and that the guests are locked in rooms. Locals are saying that the gunfire has stopped as of 10:45 p.m. local time (2:15 p.m. EDT).
Story developing; check back for updates