Kabul gunfight leaves 5 dead, several injured

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Kabul, Jan. 18 (ANI): An intense gun battle is going on between suspected Taliban militants and Afghan security forces in Kabul, near the presidential palace.

According to Sky News, five persons have died in the attack while several others have been injured.

A child, a soldier and a police officer are among five dead.

Police sealed off the city centre and sent snipers onto rooftops after the blasts, which the militants said were aimed at the presidential palace, government ministries and the central bank.

Five of the insurgents were killed as Afghan security forces took control of a besieged shopping centre.

Television pictures showed the Qari Sami shopping centre in the centre of city on fire, and a second mall, the Gulbahar Centre, about half a mile away, was also shown spewing smoke.

A security source said an attacker had blown himself up outside it, killing several police and intelligence officials.

Helicopters whirled overhead as more than 200 Afghan security forces took on the militants in gun battles on deserted streets.

Later, a UN spokesman confirmed that the firefights with the insurgents had ended.

Earlier in the morning, those present at the scene heard a series of explosions close to government ministry buildings, followed by shooting.

A statement on a Taliban website said 20 fighters, including suicide bombers, are involved in the attack, specifically targeted at government buildings and Serena Hotel located in the area.

Nato's Isaf force said it was "working closely with our Afghan partners to aggressively contain the situation during which several small explosions were reported near the Feroshgah-e-Afghan shopping centre and the Serena Hotel". (ANI)

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