At least 1 dead in American University attack in Kabul - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

At least 1 dead in American University attack in Kabul

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Officials in the Afghan capital say militants killed at least one person and wounded another 18 in an attack today on the American University of Afghanistan. They say security forces are still combing the campus in search of attackers.

An official with the Ministry of Public Health says a guard employed by the university was killed and that the wounded included a foreign teacher.

An AP photographer was in a classroom with 15 other students when he heard an explosion. Massoud Hossaini says when he went to the window to see what was happening, a man shot at him and shattered the window. The students then barricaded themselves inside the classroom. The photographer says at least two grenades were thrown into the classroom, wounding several of his classmates.

A hospital official says 18 people who were wounded in the attack, including five women, were admitted. He said three were "seriously" wounded, probably from automatic gunfire.

A police spokesman said security forces were conducting a clearing operation to track down the "terrorists." He said it was still not clear if there were one or two attackers.

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The American University of Afghanistan in Kabul came under assault today, as security forces exchanged gunfire with the attackers.

The gunfire that was reported in the vicinity of the school has now stopped, according to a source in the Kabul police force. The same source told ABC News that two people were killed and five others were injured in the attack.

The victims have not been publicly identified.

The U.S. State Department this morning acknowledged reports of the attack on an official Twitter account, posting, "Reports of attack on American University in Kabul. Exercise caution, avoid unnecessary movement in the area & monitor news for updates."

Massoud Hossaini, a photographer for The Associated Press, tweeted that he was trapped inside during the attack.

“Help we are stuck inside AUAF and shooting flollowed [sic] by Explo this maybe my last tweets,” he wrote.

The AP later reported that he was safe and had escaped from the school.

The attackers managed to enter Noor Hospital, adjacent to the school, according to eyewitnesses.

The American University of Afghanistan opened in 2006 and was a pet project of former first lady Laura Bush, who helped launch the institution on a 2005 visit to Kabul, the capital.

Much of its funding has come from the U.S. Agency for International Development, which administers civilian foreign aid, and today the school has more than 1,700 full- and part-time students. It has produced 29 Fulbright scholars and maintains partnerships with many U.S. colleges, such as Stanford, Georgetown and the University of California system.

The school says on its website that it "embraces diversity and community" in Afghanistan.

But it has been no stranger to threats of violence since its creation.

Two professors at the university — one American and one Australian — were abducted at gunpoint outside the campus earlier this month, underscoring the deteriorating security situation in the capital and across the rest of the country.

Also, two people employed by the university were killed in 2014 when a suicide bomber set off an explosion in a Kabul restaurant that was popular with expats.

ABC News' Aleem Agha and Jon Williams contributed to this report.

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