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Islamist Militants Kill at Least 145, Mostly Students, in Pakistani School

© A Majeed / AFP

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

Vatican Radio - published on 12/16/14

Taliban storms military facility.

Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing 145 people, officials said, in the worst attack to hit the country in years.

The overwhelming majority of the victims were students at the army public school, which has children and teenagers in grades 1-10. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the assault and rushed to Peshawar to show his support for the victims.

The horrific attack, carried out by a relatively small number of militants from the Tehreek-e-Taliban, 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 started exchanging fire with the gunmen, he said. Students wearing their green school uniforms could be seen on Pakistani television, fleeing the area.

Outside the school, two loud booms of unknown origin were heard coming from the scene in the early afternoon, as Pakistani troops battled with the attackers. Armored personnel carriers were deployed around the school grounds, and a Pakistani military helicopter circled overhead.

Details were sketchy in the face of the overwhelming tragedy. Pakistani television showed soldiers surrounding the area and pushing people back. Ambulances streamed from the area to local hospitals.

The information minister for the province, Mushtaq Ghani, said most of the dead were students, children and teenagers from the school. Hospital officials said earlier that at least one teacher and a paramilitary soldier were among the dead.

Pervez Khattak, the chief minister of the province where Peshawar is located, said fighting was still underway in some parts of the school.

The prime minister vowed that the country would not be cowed by the violence and that the military would continue with an aggressive operation launched in June in the North Waziristan tribal area to rout militants.

Tags:
Islamic Militants
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