Tags: AS | Pakistan

Taliban Attack Pakistani School, Kill at Least 84

Tuesday, 16 Dec 2014 05:23 AM

Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing at least 84 people, officials said, in the worst attack to hit the country in over a year.

The overwhelming majority of the victims were students at the army public school, which has children and teenagers in grades 1-10.

The horrific violence, carried out by a relatively small number of militants from the Tehreek-e-Taliban group, a Pakistani militant group trying to overthrow the government, also sent dozens of wounded flooding into local hospitals as terrified parents searched for their children.

The attack began in the morning hours, with about half a dozen gunmen entering the school — and shooting at random, said police officer Javed Khan. Army commandos quickly arrived at the scene and exchanged fire with the gunmen, he said.

Outside the school, shooting was initially heard along with one loud bang of unknown origin. Details were sketchy in the face of the overwhelming tragedy. Pakistani television showed soldiers surrounding the area and pushing people back.

Pervez Khattak, the chief minister of the province where Peshawar is located, said 84 died but that death toll could rise further in the unfolding drama.

Khattack said fighting was still underway and that roughly the same number of students have been wounded. He said the 84 killed were all "children" but hospital officials earlier said at least one of the fatalities was a teacher and that one security official was also among the dead.

The school is located on the edge of a military cantonment in Peshawar, but the bulk of the students are civilian.

Taliban spokesman Mohammed Khurasani claimed responsibility for the attack in a phone call to media, saying that six suicide bombers had carried out the attack in revenge for the killings of Taliban members at the hands of Pakistani authorities.

Peshawar has been the target of frequent militant attacks in the past but has seen a relative lull recently.

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AS, Pakistan
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2014-23-16
Tuesday, 16 Dec 2014 05:23 AM
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