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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pakistan: Taliban school attack left at least dozens people dead

Children rescued in a Peshawar school
(Image: Haaretz)
Pakistani Taliban militants have attacked a military run school in Peshawar on Tuesday, 16 December, taking more than 500 people hostages and leaving dozens dead. This attack appeared to be the bloodiest and the most violent in recent times, though Pakistan suffered from long years of violence and insurgency of the radical Taliban group.

Taliban militants have broken into the school which is located next to the military base and is run by the Pakistani military. Most of the students of this school are children of military personnel. The gunmen went off the bomb when they broke into the school, took more than 500 people hostages and opened fire attempting to kill as much people as possible, according to the reports of the journalists, accounts of eyewitnesses and survivors. It looked as if the militants’ intentions were not even to take hostages but to kill them. Taliban gunmen reportedly targeted mostly elder students. Several explosions were also reported to be heard.

Pakistani military troops have surrounded the school building and started special military operation, but children remained trapped inside for several hours. Some children managed to escape the besieged school.

Military technique and helicopters were also involved in an operation, as police cordons tried to stop shocked parents from running to the school where their children were trapped.

Pakistani officials reported the military operation is over and security authorities currently check the territory and the building of the school in case there are other bombs as well.  

Pakistani authorities declared that all the attackers were killed during a military operation. There were from six to nine gunmen, according to different sources, as reports at the scene are very controversial.

At least 141 people were reported to be killed in a terrible terrorist attack, while more than 100 of them were children, according to the recent information of the Pakistani authorities and Ministry of Health. It is though unclear whether these scores include the attackers. The majority of fatalities occured due to a suicide bombing, as an explosion went off in the building. 

Nearly 122 people were reported to be injured, some of them critically. All the injured people, among them many children, are being treated in local hospitals, as the doctors stated many wounded had the head and chest injuries.

Pakistani Taliban has already claimed responsibility for the Tuesday attack. Taliban’s spokesperson Muhammad Umar Khorasani declared in his statement that the military school was chosen with intention as a response on a recent military operation against Pakistan launched in Northern Waziristan and Khyber area.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who arrived in Peshawar strongly condemned the terrorist attack and called it a “national tragedy”.