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Blast and gunfire heard at Kabul Election Commission

Heavy security has been sent to the Independent Election Commission headquarters in Kabul as gunfire and blasts were reported around the building compound.

Read more: Afghan election commission 'under heavy rocket fire'

Afghan election commission 'under heavy rocket fire'

NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel reported from the Afghan capital Kabul:

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'Explosion' at building close to election HQ in Kabul

An explosion followed by gunfire targeted a building close to the Independent Election Commission headquarters in Kabul, Reuters reported, citing staff and police.

"We can only confirm that a number of armed insurgents have entered a building close to the Independent Election Commission," Kabul's police chief spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai said.

Aid group: Four people in besieged Kabul guesthouse

Four people have been trapped in a guesthouse under attack by Taliban insurgents in the Afghan capital Kabul, the US-based aid group Roots for Peace said.

"I can confirm it was attacked and that there are only four people [inside]," country manager Hajji Mohammad Sharif Osmani told Reuters. "The rest of the guys are outside."

A witness told the news agency they saw more than 10 people who appeared to be foreign nationals being evacuated from the building.

Osmani said that most of the group's staff had been rescued and no one was known to have been killed.

Kabul hotel attack victims include two children

Two children were among the victims of the Serena Hotel attack in Kabul, officials have said.

Four Taliban fighters snuck into the hotel early on Thursday evening and hid for three hours before storming into the restaurant and opening fire on people inside, according to interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.

An Afghan security personnel keeps watch near the Serena hotel. Credit: REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

They then battled Afghan special forces for more than an hour inside the hotel before being overwhelmed, as terrified guests hid in rooms or fled to bunkers inside.

The foreign nationals killed were from Canada, India, New Zealand and Pakistan, the interior ministry said. The victims included four women, three men and two children.

Gun and ammunition found on Afghan hotel attackers

Guns and ammunition used by attackers at the Serena hotel in Kabul have been shown to the media by Afghan intelligence officers.

Items seized from the gunman following the Kabul hotel attack. Credit: AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus

Four gunmen were killed by special forces after they unleashed an attack on the luxury hotel in Kabul, killing nine people in the hotel's restaurant.

The Taliban has said it was behind the attack at the hotel, which is popular with foreigners.

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'All guests and staff safe' after gunmen attack hotel

All the guests and staff at the Serena hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, are safe after gunmen attacked the building, an official claimed.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack on the luxury hotel which is home to many United Nations staff and foreign delegations who are in the country ahead of next month's presidential election.

The group claim the fight is still underway.

'Two or three gunmen' entered luxury hotel in Kabul

Two or three gunmen entered the luxury Serena hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan by a back door and opened fire wounding two people, security sources told Reuters.

Police outside Serena hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan. Credit: Reuters

One person, who was taken to safety along with other guests, said the shooting appeared to begin in the hotel restaurant. Another guest told the news agency he could hear sporadic gunfire.

A man stands guard outside the luxurious hotel in Kabul. Credit: Reuters

The hotel, which was attacked in 2008 by a suicide bomber claiming six lives, is considered the safest place to stay in Kabul and is home to many United Nations staff and foreign delegations ahead of next month's presidential election.

The hotel has previously been attacked before. Credit: Reuters

Luxury hotel which is home to UN staff attacked

The luxury hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, which has been reportedly attacked by gunmen is the home to United Nations staff and foreign delegations in the country.

The Serena hotel was also Afghanistan's first five-star hotel.

View of the Kabul Serena Hotel, where gunmen have reportedly attacked. Credit: Reuters
A view of the entrance of Kabul Serena Hotel in 2005. Credit: Reuters
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