The Latest: Amnesty: Kabul attack on Shiites is 'war crime'

Relatives pray near to the dead bodies of civilians after Wednesday's deadly suicide bombing that targeted a training class in a private building in the Shiite neighborhood of Dasht-i Barcha, in western Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
Afghan men stand in front of burned out shops following a Taliban attack in Ghazni, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. A Taliban assault on two adjacent checkpoints in northern Afghanistan killed at least 30 soldiers and police, officials said Wednesday. Life gradually returned to normal in parts of the eastern city of Ghazni after a massive insurgent attack last week, with sporadic gunbattles still underway in some neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Rahmatullah Nikzad)
People gather at the site of a deadly suicide bombing that targeted a training class in a private building in the Shiite neighbourhood of Dasht-i Barcha, in western Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. The public Health Ministry said the casualty toll has risen to at least 48 dead and dozens wounded. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
Security personnel arrived at the site of a deadly suicide bombing that targeted a training class in a private building in the Shiite neighbourhood of Dasht-i Barcha, in western Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. Both the resurgent Taliban and an Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan have targeted Shiites in the past, considering them to be heretics. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Latest on developments in Afghanistan after a deadly suicide bombing in a Shiite area of Kabul (all times local):

5 p.m.

Amnesty International says the suicide attack on Shiites in Kabul the day before that killed 34 students is a "war crime."

Thursday's statement from the international rights group also decried the recent spike in violence in Afghanistan and the increasing number of civilians being killed.

Samira Hamidi, Amnesty's South Asia campaigner, says "the deliberate targeting of civilians and the targeting of places of education is a war crime."

She added that the "mounting civilian casualties show beyond any doubt that Afghanistan and, in particular, its capital, Kabul, are not safe."

She says the spike in violence should be a message to Afghanistan's neighbors as well as European countries that are turning away Afghan refugees "in the thousands."


4:45 p.m.

Kabul police say two gunmen who attacked an intelligence service compound in the city's northwest have been killed by security forces and that the siege is over.

Kabul police chief spokesman Hekmat Stanikzai says the standoff lasted nearly six hours on Thursday as police moved in to cut the gunmen off.

He says police finally took control of the partially constructed building where the gunmen had holed up in and from where they were opening fire at the nearby intel compound.

A private university located nearby was put on lockdown but there were no injuries among the students during the shootout.

Police officers went floor by floor through to building to make sure no attackers remained there. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.


4:30 p.m.

An Afghan official says four policemen were killed and four were seriously wounded as they were trying to defuse a car bomb in southern Kandahar province.

Provincial police spokesman Zia Durrani says the policemen discovered the car packed with explosives late on Wednesday. He says that when they tried to defuse it, the car detonated.

No one has taken responsibility for the car bomb.

Kandahar was the spiritual heartland of the Taliban during their five-year rule of Afghanistan that ended with the 2001 invasion by U.S. and NATO forces following the 9/11 attacks in the United States.


2:40 p.m.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the horrific suicide bombing the previous day that targeted a Shiite area of the Afghan capital, killing 34 students.

The claim of responsibility was posted on Thursday on the IS-affiliated Aamaq news agency. IS says its bomber, identified as "martyrdom-seeking brother Abdul Raouf al-Khorasani" carried out the attack, allegedly killing or wounding more than 200 students.

Afghanistan's Health Ministry has released a revised casualty toll, saying 34 students were killed and 57 were wounded.

Afghanistan's IS affiliate is known as The Islamic State in Khorasan Province. Khorasan is the ancient name for an area that encompassed parts of present-day Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia. ___

10:45 a.m.

Police say gunmen have launched an attack on a compound belonging to the Afghan intelligence service in the capital of Kabul.

Officer Abdul Rahman told The Associated Press from the location of the attack on Thursday morning that the gunmen are holed up in a building near the compound from where they are shooting.

He says the shooting is sporadic and it wasn't immediately clear how many gunmen are involved in the assault in a western neighborhood of Kabul.

The attack comes as the city's Shiites prepare to hold funeral prayers for those killed in a deadly suicide bombing the previous day.


10:30 a.m.

The Afghan authorities have revised the death toll from the previous day's horrific suicide bombing in a Shite area of Kabul to 34 killed, not 48.

Health Ministry spokesman Wahid Majroh said on Thursday that 56 people were also wounded in the bombing in the neighborhood of Dasht-e-Barchi when the bomber walked into a building where high school graduates were preparing for university entrance exams and blew himself up.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but officials blame the Islamic State group, which has targeted Shiites in the past.

The city's hospitals were overwhelmed in the immediate aftermath of Wednesday's bombing as officials collected data on the casualties, leading to the confusion and the wrong toll.

Funeral prayers were to be held later Thursday for the dead.

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