November 21, 2009 / 3:44 PM / 10 years ago

Rocket hits luxury hotel in Kabul, 4 wounded

* Wall of luxury Kabul hotel hit by rocket

* Two boys and an Afghan soldier among the wounded
(Recasts with health ministry spokesman’s confirmation)

KABUL, Nov 21 (Reuters) - A rocket hit the outside wall of the luxury Serena hotel in Kabul on Saturday, wounding four people, including two boys, a health ministry official said.

Ministry spokesman Ahmad Raaid said an Afghan soldier was also hurt in the attack.

"None of the wounds are serious," he told Reuters.

An employee of the Serena Hotel said there was no damage to the hotel itself. Witnesses said police had sealed off roads leading to the building.

Several rockets were fired at the hotel three weeks ago, forcing more than 100 people to rush into an underground bunker. On the same day, gunmen killed five foreign U.N. staff in a separate attack on a Kabul guest house.

In January 2008, several Taliban gunmen stormed the hotel, which is near the presidential palace, killing six people including a Norwegian journalist. The Norwegian foreign minister, who was staying there at the time, was unhurt.

Since then, security has been stepped up at the hotel.

Violence in Afghanistan is at its worst levels since the Taliban was overthrown in 2001. The Islamist militants have spread their insurgency from the south and east of the country into previously peaceful areas. (Reporting by Yousuf Azimy, Hamid Shalizi and Akram Walizada; Writing by Jonathon Burch and Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Crispian Balmer)

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