Over 104 students killed in Pakistani school siege

Published December 16th, 2014 - 09:58 GMT

At least 104 students have been killed and scores more injured by gunmen in a siege on an army school in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar on Tuesday.  

Perwaiz Khattakh, the chief minister for the state of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where Peshawar is located, confirmed the death toll and said that three of the militants have been killed. 

The gunmen, dressed in security forces uniform, attacked a farewell party at the school. 

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack, calling it cowardly and claiming it will not weaken attempts to wipe out militancy in the country. 

The army's media wing, Inter Services Public Relations, said security forces are performing a search and rescue operation and that the firing has currently stopped. An emergency has been imposed in all major hospitals in the city to cater for the dead and injured. 

The main Pakistani Taliban network, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, has claimed responsibility for the attack, calling it a "response" to the Pakistan army's anti-militant operations in the North Waziristan tribal area. 

"We were in auditorium when we heard sounds of shots. As we were trying to figure out what was happening; two gunmen entered and opened fire," Shuja Talib Ali, a student who managed to escape, told media. "We ran towards the backdoor as terrorists kept firing on us. Many of my colleagues fell on the ground but I did not look back." 

Another escaped student said the terrorists burned his female teacher alive and ordered students to lie on ground.

A large blast was heard from inside the school. Security forces say it could have been a suicide bomb. 

Majid Bashir, whose two sons study in this school, told The Anadolu Agency that his son has informed him by phone that they took refuge inside the school when the gunmen took several students hostage in different classrooms.  

"He is horrified. He could not speak properly. He just wanted me not to call him again so that he could not be located by gunmen," Bashir said. 

A police officer present on the scene said five to six gunmen are inside the school. 

Heavy contingents of army and police have cordoned off the area. Army commandos have since cleared a portion of school. 

Muddasir Abbass, a laboratory assistant who was evacuated by soldiers, told reporters that six to seven gunmen were entering classrooms and firing at students. He said the school was hosting a party for students who had completed their examinations. 

© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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