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Explosions and gunfire heard in Kabul diplomatic district

The sound of heavy fighting has been heard in the diplomatic quarter of the Afghan capital, Kabul. Insurgents were said to be battling security forces over a guesthouse believed to have links to a prominent family.

There were sporadic bursts of heavy gunfire and explosions in the Afghan capital, Kabul, late on Tuesday, as police said a guesthouse was under attack.

The firefight was said to have been widely heard coming from the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood, which is home to several embassies. The noise was believed to be coming from the Rabbani Guesthouse.

"An unknown number of armed men have attacked what at this stage we believe is a guest house in Wazir Akbar Khan district," Kabul police spokesman Ebadullah Karimi told news agency AFP.

"They are using hand grenades and explosions can be heard. Security forces are at the scene trying to contain the attack," he added.

The hotel was once owned by former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who served as president of Afghanistan from 1992 until 1996. It is now owned by the family of Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani.

Taliban militants attacked a guesthouse in Kabul earlier this month, killing an American, a British citizen, an Italian, four Indian nationals, five Afghans and two Pakistanis.

rc/bw (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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