Pakistan Taliban: Peshawar school attack leaves 141 dead

Pakistan Taliban: Peshawar school attack leaves 141 dead

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Militants from the Pakistani Taliban have attacked a school in Peshawar, killing 141 people, 132 of them children, the military say.
Pakistani officials say the attack is now over, with all of the attackers killed. A total of seven militants took part, according to the military.Scores of survivors are being treated in hospitals as frantic parents search for news of their children.The attack is the deadliest ever by the Taliban in Pakistan. There has been chaos outside hospital units to which casualties were taken, the BBC’s Shaimaa Khalil reports from Peshawar.Bodies have been carried out of hospitals in coffins, escorted by crowds of mourners, some of them visibly distraught.A Taliban spokesman told BBC Urdu that the school had been targeted in response to army operations.
Hundreds of Taliban fighters are thought to have died in a recent military offensive in North Waziristan and the nearby Khyber area.
US President Barack Obama condemned the “horrific attack (…) in the strongest possible terms”.Military spokesman Asim Bajwa told reporters in Peshawar that 132 children and nine members of staff had been killed.All seven of the attackers wore suicide bomb vests, he said.It appears the militants scaled walls to get into the school and set off a bomb at the start of the assault.Children who escaped say the militants then went from one classroom to another, shooting indiscriminately.One boy told reporters he had been with a group of 10 friends who tried to run away and hide. He was the only one to survive.Others described seeing pupils lying dead in the corridors. One local woman said her friend’s daughter had escaped because her clothing was covered in blood from those around her and she had lain pretending to be dead.A hospital doctor treating injured children said many had head and chest injuries.Irshadah Bibi, a woman who lost her 12-year-old son, was seen beating her face in grief, throwing herself against an ambulance.”O God, why did you snatch away my son?” AFP news agency quoted her as saying. The school is near a military complex in Peshawar. The city, close to the Afghan border, has seen some of the worst of the violence during the Taliban insurgency in recent years.Many of the students were the children of military personnel. Most of them would have been aged 16 or under.Hundreds of parents are outside the school waiting for news of their children, according to Wafis Jan from the Red Crescent Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani Nobel laureate who was shot by the Taliban for campaigning for the right to an education, condemned the attack.”I, along with millions of others around the world, mourn these children, my brothers and sisters, but we will never be defeated,” she said.Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has arrived in Peshawar, described the attack as a “national tragedy”. Pakistani opposition leader and former cricket captain Imran Khan condemned it as “utter barbarism”.A Taliban spokesman was quoted by Reuters as saying the school had been attacked because the “government is targeting our families and females”. -BBC

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