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Suicide attackers stormed a popular Western-style hotel in Afghanistan on Tuesday, setting off explosions and exchanging gunfire with Afghan authorities for hours until NATO helicopters took out three of the remaining gunmen.
Guests at the Inter-Continental hotel in Kabul hid in their rooms during the attack, which killed 7 and wounded 8, according to Afghan officials. The six suicide bombers and four gunmen involved in the raid have been killed.
Afghan police battled the assailants throughout the night with machine-gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades as tracer rounds went up over the blacked-out building.
Two NATO helicopters later flew over the roof of the hotel and killed three of the attackers. At least one rocket was fired from the helicopters. A senior U.S. military official told Fox News that U.S. forces were called in to assist.
Multiple explosions were heard in the initial attacks, where two bodies could be seen at the hotel's entrance.
Associated Press reporters at the scene said another two blasts -- about a minute apart -- occurred around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The police have since secured the area around the hotel, which is one of Kabul's most heavily guarded.
"There are foreign and Afghan guests staying at the hotel," said Sediq Sediqqi, an Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman. "We have reports that they are safe in their rooms."
Jawid, a guest at the hotel, says the attack occurred as many people were having dinner in the hotel restaurant. He says he heard gunfire throughout the several story building.
"I was running with my family," he said. "There was shooting. The restaurant was full with guests."
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in a telephone call to The Associated Press.
Mujahid later issued a statement claiming that Taliban attackers killed guards at a gate and entered the hotel.
"One of our fighters called on a mobile phone and said: 'We have gotten onto all the hotel floors and the attack is going according to the plan. We have killed and wounded 50 foreign and local enemies. We are in the corridors of the hotel now taking guests out of their rooms -- mostly foreigners. We broke down the doors and took them out one by one."'
A State Department official told Fox News that all chiefs of mission personnel are accounted for in the country, including all U.S. citizens currently working for the embassy in Kabul. However there is no information yet on any Americans who might have been staying at the hotel.
The Inter-Continental -- known widely as the "Inter-Con" -- was once part of an international chain. But when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the hotel, was left to fend for itself.
The Inter-Continental, which opened in the late 1960s, was the nation's first international luxury hotel. It has at least 200 rooms.
It was used by Western journalists during the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and has been targeted before.
On Nov. 23, 2003, a rocket exploded nearby, shattering windows but causing no casualties.
Twenty-two rockets hit the Inter-Con between 1992 and 1996, when factional fighting convulsed Kabul under the government of Burhanuddin Rabbani. All the windows were broken, water mains were damaged and the outside structure pockmarked. Some, but not all, of the damage was repaired during Taliban rule.
Attacks in the Afghan capital have been relatively rare, although violence has increased since the May 2 killing of Usama bin Laden in a U.S. raid in Pakistan and the start of the Taliban's annual spring offensive.
On June 18, insurgents wearing Afghan army uniforms stormed a police station near the presidential palace and opened fire on officers, killing nine.
Late last month, a suicide bomber wearing an Afghan police uniform infiltrated the main Afghan military hospital, killing six medical students. A month before that, a suicide attacker in an army uniform sneaked past security at the Afghan Defense Ministry, killing three people.
Other hotels in the capital have also been targeted.
The Associated Press and Newscore contributed to this report.