141 dead as Peshawar school siege ends
KABUL (Pajhwok): More than 140 people, including 132 children, were killed on Tuesday when the Taliban stormed an army-run school in northwestern Pakistan. The siege was over, with authorities sweeping the Warsak Road area in Peshawar.
A group of insurgents wearing military uniforms entered the Army Public School on the busy road, taking students and teachers hostage and trading intense gunfire with security forces. As many as 141 people were killed and more than 245 injured, including teachers and students.
As helicopters flew over the school, security personnel fought against the assailants for several hours and killed six of them, an army officer told journalists:
"There has been an incident of firing at the Army Public School. Troops have cordoned off the area and are searching for the militants. A heavy explosion was also heard."
One private TV channel, monitored here, quoted security sources as saying six militants were killed during the operation. Up to 10 gunmen entered the school from a nearby graveyard, Geo News reported.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif flew into Peshawar to supervise the ongoing operation. "I have come here to supervise the operation myself," he said before meeting political figures on the crisis.
Sharif vowed perpetrators of the heinous act would not be spared, calling the deadly attack a blowback from the military offensive in Waziristan.
Army Chief Raheel Sharif also reached Peshawar, cutting short his visit to Quetta. He pledged to continue the fight against the terrorists until they were completely eliminated.
Gen Sharif said: “This ghastly act of killing innocents clearly indicates they (militants) are not only the enemies of Pakistan but also the enemies of humanity. They have hit at the heart of the nation, but let me reiterate they can't in any way diminish the will of this great nation.”
The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the brazen assault, with a spokesman for the group saying the gunmen had been ordered to shoot senior students, not children.
Lady Reading Hospital spokesman Jamil Shah said scores of students, a teacher and a paramilitary soldier were among the dead. The toll could go up, he indicated.
About 500 students and teachers are believed to be inside the building. A member of the ruling party, Shaukat Yousufzai, said the rescue operation was ongoing.
Chief Minister Pervez Khattak confirmed 137 children had been killed in the attack. "The terrorists entered the school wearing (paramilitary) Frontier Constabulary uniforms."
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