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Peshawar school attack: Death toll stands at 141, PM Modi calls up Nawaz Sharif to express condolence

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Peshawar school attack: Death toll stands at 141, PM Modi calls up Nawaz Sharif to express condolence


Hospital security guards carry a students injured in the shootout at a school under attacked by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar, Pakistan,Tuesday, December 16, 2014. , Reuters

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DNA Web Team 

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DNA webdesk

Updated: Dec 16, 2014, 11:50 PM IST

As many as 141 people, nearly all of them school children, were massacred on Tuesday  when heavily armed Taliban suicide bombers stormed a Pakistan army-run school in Peshawar, firing indiscriminately, leaving another 130 injured.

Dressed in para-military Frontier Corps uniforms, the seven Arabic-speaking terrorists entered the Army Public School on Warsak Road around 10 AM (local time) from the rear side and went from classroom to classroom shooting innocent children indiscriminately in one of the most gruesome terror attacks anywhere. Chief Military Spokesman Maj Gen Asim Bajwa told a news conference on Tuesday night that 132 of the dead were children and another nine were staff members. A total of 130 people--118 students, three staffers, seven SSG soldiers and two officers -- were injured, he said.

He also said that 960 students and staffers were rescued. Bajwa said all the seven militants were killed in the operations involving Special Services Group(SSG) or commandos. Some of them reportedly blew themselves up. "The operation is over. The school has been handed over to its administration. SSG troops are withdrawn" he added. Bajwa said about 1,000 students and staffers were in the school at the time of the attack.Earlier, reports had put the death toll at 160 but later it was scaled down. Read More 

Indian PM Narendra Modi called up his counterpart Nawaz Sharif to express condolence.

22:00 IST Tuesday, 16 December 2014

More than eight hours after militants entered the school compound, the military declared the operation to flush them out over, and said that all nine insurgents had been killed.

The attack at a military-run high school attended by at least 500 students, many of them children of army personnel, struck at the heart of Pakistan's military establishment, an assault certain to enrage the country's powerful army. The Taliban, waging war against Pakistan in order to topple the government and set up an Islamic state, immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

"We selected the army's school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females," said Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani. "We want them to feel thepain." As night fell on Peshawar, a teeming, volatile city near the Afghan border, security forces finally wrapped up an operation that lasted more than eight hours and involved sometimes intensegun battles.

The Taliban said the gunmen had been equipped with suicide vests. Three explosions were heard inside the high school at the height of the massacre, raising fears of more casualties. Outside, as helicopters rumbled overhead, police struggled to hold back distraught parents who were trying to break past a security cordon and get into the school. Officials said 122 people were wounded. A local hospitalsaid the dead and injured were aged from 10 to 20 years old.

According to early witness accounts, a group of militants burst into the school as students attended classes and lectures, shooting indiscriminately at both pupils and teachers. Read More 

18:55 IST Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Pakistan government has confirmed that 6 terrorists have been killed so far. 8 blasts have been reported from the schol campus so far. Pakistan government has announced a declared a three day country-wide mourning. Read More 

Both Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi have strongly condemned the heinous terror attack on Peshawar school.

Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Tuesday termed the perpetrators of the terrorist attack on a school in Pakistan as 'enemies of Allah', calling the act itself a 'heinous crime'.

"The terrorists who have committed this heinous crime are the enemies of humanity. They are the enemies of Allah, they are the enemies of society and they are the enemies of Islam. I pray that somewhere in their hearts, their conscience awakens," Satyarthi said at a public meeting here.

"I pray that God gives the families of the victims the courage and fortitude to bear their irreparable loss," he added. Read More 

People sharing heartbreaking pictures.

Ask the Mother who had put this shoe on her kid's little foot this morning. #PeshawarAttack pic.twitter.com/DotNnCcwgz

— Arif (@Atozai) December 16, 2014

A 13-year old girl escaped gunman by pretending to be dead. She is sole survivor of her class. (Via @BBCNewshour) #PeshawarAttack

— Mazher Arshad (@cricket_U) December 16, 2014

Indians show solidarity with Pakistan after #PeshawarAttack with #IndiawithPakistan. MORE [t.co] pic.twitter.com/ktSKbkJaxn

— BBC Trending (@BBCtrending) December 16, 2014

Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif calls for all party meet at Governor House tomorrow.

PM Nawaz Sharif #PMLN calls for all party meet in Governor House #KPK.

— Home Department KPK (@htakpk) December 16, 2014

17:34 IST Tuesday, 16 December 2014

One of the students says that the terrorists had foreign accent and were talking in Arabic.

One of the students of #ArmyPublicSchool says that the terrorists had foreign accent and were talking in Arabic.

— Home Department KPK (@htakpk) December 16, 2014

17:16 IST Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Fifth terrorist killed in the last under clearance block of school, meanwhile Special Service Group rescued two more children and two staff members.

17:08 IST Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Pakistan army: special forces rescue 2 children, 2 staff members at school

17:00 IST Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Addressing the media in Peshawar, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said ,"We will continue our struggle to eradicate terrorism.”

Sharif further added, "We have also spoken to Afghanistan and we will fight terrorism together. Country should not lose its strength. Such attacks are expected in the wake of a war" he added.

16:50 IST Tuesday, 16 December 2014

My heart bleeds for bereaved families. It is One of the darkest days of humanity, says Kailash satyarthi

Reacting to the attack on school in Peshawar, Nobel laureate Kailash satyarthi said, " My heart bleeds for bereaved families. It is One of the darkest days of humanity. These are all our children who have been murdered today. My prayers and condolences are with the families. Children are the first casualty of violence and war. It is time we all came together and stop this violence." Satyarthi also urged Pakistan government to take all possible steps to protect children and schools from violence.

Over 100 children massacred in school in #PeshawarAttack. My heart bleeds for bereaved families. One of the darkest days of humanity.

— Kailash Satyarthi (@k_satyarthi) December 16, 2014

16:45 IST Tuesday, 16 December 2014

An army helicopter flies over the Army Public School that in under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar

The Pakistani military said four Taliban militants had been killed at a school they attacked in the city of Peshawar on Tuesday, and that they were searching for remaining gunmen. "Remaining clearance in progress," the military said in a tweet. The Taliban say they sent in six gunmen with suicide vests to attack the military-run children's school.

16:38 IST Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Peshawar attack: It's a senseless act of unspeakable brutality, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attack saying, it is a senseless act of unspeakable brutality that has claimed lives of the most innocent of human beings - young children in their school. Read more

Strongly condemn the cowardly terrorist attack at a school in Peshawar.

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 16, 2014 

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

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 16, 2014

PTI chief Imran Khan condems attack

Shocked at attack on school in Peshawar. Strongly condemn this inhuman act of utter barbarism.

— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) December 16, 2014

India strongly condemned the barbaric attack on a school in Peshawar

India today strongly condemned the barbaric attack on a school in Peshawar in which at least 124 children were killed, saying there is never a justification for terrorism. "No words will capture the feeling of deep revulsion and horror we feel about this terror attack against innocent children of the Army Public School in Peshawar - It was not just innocent children who have been massacred today, but the very conception of humanity," Official Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry Syed Akbaruddin said here. Terming the attack as "crime against humanity", he said prayers are with the families and loved ones of all those who lost their lives or were injured in this barbaric incident. Read more

We condemn horrific attack on innocent school children in Peshawar.

— Syed Akbaruddin (@MEAIndia) December 16, 2014

16:07 IST Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Home Minister Rajnath Singh condemns terror attack in Peshawar school

Home Minister Rajnath Singh condemned terrorist strike at a school in Pakistan saying the inhuman attack exposes the real face of terrorism. "I strongly condemn the terrorist attack on a school at Peshawar (Pakistan). This dastardly and inhuman attack exposes the real face of terrorism," Singh said in a statement. Expressing his condolence to the families of the terror attack victims, the Home Minister said his heart goes out to the families of those children who were killed by the terrorists in Peshawar. Read more

Death toll reaches to more than 126

Death toll reaches to more than 126 in the #PeshawarAttack. #PakArmy operation still underway. Firing again starts after lull of 30 minutes

— Home Department KPK (@htakpk) December 16, 2014

2 more blasts heard and firing ensues. #PakArmy operation continues against terrorists of #PeshawarAttack

— Home Department KPK (@htakpk) December 16, 2014

15:55 IST Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Eyewitness account of the attack 

Eyewitness account of awful school attack in Pakistan. [t.co] #PakistanSchoolAttack pic.twitter.com/UvROEDn0Ks

— Glenn Kates (@gkates) December 16, 2014

15:40 IST Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack and termed it a "national tragedy." 

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack and said he was on his way to Peshawar.  "I can't stay back in Islamabad. This is a national tragedy unleashed by savages. These were my kids," he said in a statement. "This is my loss. This is the nation's loss. I am leaving for Peshawar now and I will supervise this operation myself."

15:37 IST Tuesday, 16 December 2014

We want the government to feel the pain, says Taliban spokesperson

"We selected the army's school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females," said Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani. "We want them to feel the pain."

15:10 IST Tuesday, 16 December 2014

At least 100 children have been killed. "In CMH (Combined Military Hospital) there are around 60 and there are 24 dead in Lady Reading (hospital)," Pervaiz Khattak, chief minister of the province where Pehsawar is located, told local television channels.

To repeat:According to CM KPK Pervez Khattak, at least 84 people have been killed and more than 83 injured in today's attack #PeshawarAttack

— Asad Hashim (@AsadHashim) December 16, 2014

Army chief en route from Quetta to Peshawar, as rescue operation continues, confirms @AsimBajwaISPR

— Asad Hashim (@AsadHashim) December 16, 2014

13:16 IST Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Children and teachers are being evacuated. Helicopters swooped overhead and a fleet of ambulances ferried wounded children to hospital.

Several students escaped through the back gate. One of students who escaped told Dunya TV that fourth period was in progress when they heard firing. "First we didn't know what has happened. But late an army officer told us to escape through back gate," he said.

Military officials at the scene said at least six armed men had entered the military-run Army Public School. About 500 students and teachers were believed to be inside.

"We were standing outside the school and firing suddenly started and there was chaos everywhere and the screams of children and teachers," said Jamshed Khan, a school bus driver.

A teacher said that the attackers targeted the school while exams were taking place. "After half an hour of the attack, the army came and sealed the school," a teacher told a private television channel outside the besieged school. "We were in the examination hall when the attack took place," he said. "Now the army men are clearing the classes one by one."

Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani said that his group was responsible for the attack. "Our suicide bombers have entered the school, they have instructions not to harm the children, but to target the army personnel," he said.

"It's a revenge attack for the army offensive in North Waziristan," he said, referring to an anti-Taliban military offensive that began in June.

Mushtaq Ghani, provincial information minister, said the militants entered through a graveyard which is adjacent to the school, called Army Public School. The school is close to Saint Mary High School located at the start of Warsak Road which was also under threat for last couple of days.

A heavy contingent of police and security forces have blocked the roads leading to the school, taking control of the entire area. In a brief statement, the army said: "Rescue operation by troops underway. Exchange of fire continues. Bulk of student and staff evacuated. Reports of some children and teachers killed by terrorist." The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman claimed that its six suicide bombers attacked army school.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has condemned the attack. Opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Imran Khan, whose party rules Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, termed the attack as an act of "barbarism".

Shagufta, who lives near the school, told Geo TV that she heard two explosions, a smaller one followed by a huge bang. A student who identified himself as Shuja told Samaa TV that they were taking examination when firing started. They were told by the teacher to lie down on the floor. He said they remained on floor for about one hour when army soldiers came and told them to go out.

With agency inputs