Explosion, gunfire at Kabul's luxury hotel; casualties reported

Militants with suicide vests, grenades and AK-47 rifles attacked Kabul's most popular luxury hotel Monday evening, killing at least one person and wounding several others in a coordinated assault rarely seen in the Afghan capital, witnesses and a Taliban spokesman said. The 6:12 p.m. attack came on a night the Norwegian embassy was holding a meeting at the Serena Hotel. A US citizen inside said she saw what she believed to be a dead body and pools of blood in the lobby. She said three foreigners had been wounded. Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, told The Associated Press that four militants with suicide vests attacked the hotel - one suicide bomber, and three militants who threw grenades, fired guns and then fled. The claim, which quickly followed the attack, could not be independently verified. Five ambulances and US troops in Humvees rushed to the hotel. Police kept journalists and onlookers at a distance from the building.