NEWS

Taliban Gunmen Storm Pakistani Military School, Killing More Than 100

16/12/2014 09:57 | Updated 16 December 2014

WARNING: THIS REPORT CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT, READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED

UPDATE: Tragic List Of Children Killed In Peshawar School Massacre Emerges

Taliban militants stormed a school in Pakistan on Tuesday, killing 141 people, including 132 children.

Up to 500 students and teachers from the Army Public School in Peshawar were believed to have been taken hostage by up to 10 terrorists during the massacre.

A Pakistani military source told US TV network NBC that attackers wearing police uniforms and suicide vests charged the building.

pakistan school shooting

An injured student student is carried to safety by volunteers

"They burnt a teacher in front of the students in a classroom," said the unnamed military source. "They literally set the teacher on fire with gasoline and made the kids watch."

As darkness fell, officials said they had cleared the school of militants. "The operation is completed," said Bilal Ahmad Faizi, head of the rescue effort.

The attack began in the morning hours, with the gunmen entering the school - which has students in grades 1-10 - and shooting at random, said police officer Javed Khan.

pakistan school shooting

Military commandos at the scene exchanging gunfire with Taliban fighters

Outside the school, shooting was initially heard along with as many as 15 loud blasts. According to reports the school was booby-trapped with IEDs.

Pakistani television showed soldiers surrounding the area and pushing people back. Boys in blood-soaked school uniforms with green blazers were seen being carried from the scene.

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

Later, one of the wounded students, Abdullah Jamal, said that he was with a group of 8th, 9th and 10th graders who were getting first-aid instructions and training with a team of Pakistani army medics when the violence began.

pakistan school

A little girl is carried from the scene by a volunteer

When the shooting started, Jamal, who was shot in the leg, said nobody knew what was going on in the first few seconds.

"Then I saw children falling down who were crying and screaming. I also fell down. I learned later that I have got a bullet," he said, speaking from his hospital bed.

"All the children had bullet wounds. All the children were bleeding," Jamal added.

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

He told AFP the team of attackers: “… Include target killers and suicide attackers. They have been ordered to shoot the older students but not the children.”

pakistan school shooting

A Taliban spokesman says the attackers have been ordered to shoot 'older students but not the children'

He added: "We targeted the school because the army targets our families. We want them to feel our pain."

Hundreds of Taliban fighters are thought to have died in a recent military offensive in Waziristan and the Khyber region.

Nigel Inskter, a British former MI6 assistant chief, said the bloody attack could be the first of several "revenge" hits by Taliban fighters.

He said: "It is an attack of revenge, and there is possibly more where this came from."

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

On Tuesday Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was en route to the region to supervise the operation.

In comments reported by Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper he said: “These are my children and it is my loss.”

He has announced a three-day countrywide mourning in the wake of the attack.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said: "The news from Pakistan is deeply shocking. It's horrifying that children are being killed simply for going to school."

Former PM Gordon Brown, who has campaigned for security in schools in his role as United Nations special envoy for global education, said: "The whole world will be shocked and heartbroken at the massacre in Peshawar that has destroyed so many innocent young lives.

"We must remain resolute in saying that no terrorist group can at any time ever justify denying children the right to an education and we will do everything in our power to support the Pakistan authorities and make sure their schools are safe and protected.

"It has never been acceptable for schools to be places of conflict and for children to be subject to violence simply because they want to learn. Education is opportunity and hope for building nations.

"Too often innocent girls and boys have become targets for terrorists who want to deny children the right to education and schools have become theatres of war.

"No-one has the right to deny a boy or girl their education and we will stand alongside the parents and the children against the Taliban's refusal to recognise every child has the right to education."

Education campaigner and Nobel peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban, also condemned the "atrocious and cowardly" attack.

She said: "I am heartbroken by this senseless and cold-blooded act of terror in Peshawar that is unfolding before us."

Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi described the "gut-wrenching" scenes as "an utterly barbaric and inhumane attack on innocent children".

Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the UK-based Ramadhan Foundation, condemned the "brutal and evil" assault as "an attack against all Pakistanis" and "an affront to Islam".

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter: "Strongly condemn the cowardly terrorist attack at a school in Peshawar.

"It is a senseless act of unspeakable brutality that has claimed lives of the most innocent of human beings - young children in their school.

"My heart goes out to everyone who lost their loved ones today. We share their pain and offer our deepest condolences."

  • A MAJEED via Getty Images
    Pakistani men carry an injured student to a hospital following an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. At least 130 people were killed in a Taliban attack on an army-run school in northwest Pakistan, officials said. AFP PHOTO/ A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
  • A MAJEED via Getty Images
    Pakistani men carry an injured school girl to a hospital following an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. At least 130 people were killed in a Taliban attack on an army-run school in northwest Pakistan, officials said. AFP PHOTO/ A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Hospital staff transport a student injured in the shootout at a school under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar, Pakistan,Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the northwestern Pakistani city, killing and wounding dozens, officials said, in the latest militant violence to hit the already troubled region. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Pakistani rescue workers take out students from an ambulance who injured in the shootout at a school under attack by Taliban gunmen, upon arrival at a local hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the northwestern Pakistani city, killing and wounding dozens, officials said, in the latest militant violence to hit the already troubled region. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Hospital security guards carry a students injured in the shootout at a school under attacked by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar, Pakistan,Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the northwestern Pakistani city, killing and wounding dozens, officials said, in the latest militant violence to hit the already troubled region. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)(AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    An armored personnel carrier moves toward a school under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar, Pakistan,Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the northwestern Pakistani city, killing and wounding dozens, officials said, in the latest militant violence to hit the already troubled region. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A Pakistani army soldier takes position on a bunker close to a school under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the northwestern Pakistani city, killing and wounding dozens, officials said, in the latest militant violence to hit the already troubled region. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A Pakistani man comforts a student standing at the bedside of a boy who was injured in a Taliban attack on a school, at a local hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing and wounding scores, officials said, in the worst attack to hit the country in over a year.(AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
  • AFP via Getty Images
    This screengrab taken from AFP footage shows a child (lower) receiving treatment at a hospital following an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. A Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on December 16 has left more than 100 people dead, most of them students, officials said. AFP PHOTO / Aftab Ahmed (Photo credit should read Aftab Ahmed/AFP/Getty Images)
  • AFP via Getty Images
    This screengrab taken from AFP footage shows a child reacting at a hospital following an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. A Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on December 16 has left more than 100 people dead, most of them students, officials said. AFP PHOTO / Aftab Ahmed (Photo credit should read Aftab Ahmed/AFP/Getty Images)
  • AFP via Getty Images
    This screengrab taken from AFP footage shows a child receiving treatment at a hospital following an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. A Taliban attack on an army-run school in Pakistan on December 16 has left more than 100 people dead, most of them students, officials said. AFP PHOTO / Aftab Ahmed (Photo credit should read Aftab Ahmed/AFP/Getty Images)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    People carry the casket of a victim of Taliban attack in a school, after receiving it from a local hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing and wounding dozens, officials said, in the latest militant violence to hit the already troubled region. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Pakistani army troops arrive to conduct an operation at a school under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed the military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city, killing and wounding scores, officials said, in the highest-profile militant attack to hit the troubled region in months. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Pakistani army troops cordon off a road leading to a school under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the northwestern Pakistani city, killing and wounding dozens, officials said, in the latest militant violence to hit the already troubled region. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Pakistani army troops are positioned close to a school under attacked by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the northwestern Pakistani city, killing and wounding dozens, officials said, in the latest militant violence to hit the already troubled region. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

12/16/2014 9:43 AM EST

Watch Live: John Kerry Addresses Attacks

John Kerry is holding a press conference in London on the recent attacks in Sydney and Peshawar.

12/16/2014 9:39 AM EST

Pakistani Officials Say Siege Is Over

12/16/2014 9:34 AM EST

John Kerry To Address Attack

12/16/2014 9:30 AM EST

Obama Condemns Attack

President Barack Obama released a statement condemning the attack in Pakistan "in the strongest possible terms."

The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s horrific attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, and loved ones. By targeting students and teachers in this heinous attack, terrorists have once again shown their depravity. We stand with the people of Pakistan, and reiterate the commitment of the United States to support the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to combat terrorism and extremism and to promote peace and stability in the region.

12/16/2014 9:10 AM EST

Health Secretary: Death Toll Rises To 135

BBC News reports:

12/16/2014 8:59 AM EST

Malaysia's Prime Minister Condemns Attack

On his official Twitter account, Malaysia's PM has condemned the attack:

12/16/2014 8:47 AM EST

Most Students At Assembly At Time Of Massacre

12/16/2014 8:42 AM EST

CNN: Police Say All Attackers Have Been Killed

12/16/2014 8:21 AM EST

AFP: Police Say Siege Over

12/16/2014 8:10 AM EST

Military Official: School Booby Trapped

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