Pakistan Death Toll Climbs to 141 after Taliban Attack Peswahar School

World | December 16, 2014, Tuesday // 19:47|  views

A school boy who was injured in a Taliban attack receives medical treatment at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, 16 December 2014. Photo EPA/BGNES

A Taliban assault on an army-run school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday has left at least 141 people dead, 132 of them children, officials say.

The number of those officially declared dead had been going up for hours after six Taliban militants wearing military fatigues entered the school, which has students in grades 1-10 thought to be aged 5 to 14. Gunfire and explosions were heard as security forces surrounded the area.

More than 180 people are wounded as a result of the attack.

The army said most of the school's 500 students have been evacuated but it remains unclear how many are being held hostage, according to the BBC. All of the attackers have reportedly been killed.

A spokesman for a faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the gunmen had been ordered to shoot older students but not children.

The attack, according to the spokesman, was in response to a recent army offensive in the North Waziristan area and the nearby Khyber area, in which hundreds of Taliban fighters are believed to have been killed. The Pakistani Taliban are fighting to topple the government and set up a strict Islamic state.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said he was leaving for Peshawar to supervise the operation himself.

"These are my children and it is my loss," the Pakistani premier said.

According to a police source in Peshawar, the attack began in the morning hours, with the gunmen entering the school and shooting at random, the AP said. Army commandos quickly arrived at the scene and exchanged fire with the attackers.

Gunfire and helicopters were heard outside the school building, witnesses told local TV channels.


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Tags: Pakistan, school. attack, assault, children, Taliban, Peshawar, Nawaz Sharif


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