Innocent children under attack

PESHAWAR, Dec 16: At least 126 people, mostly children, were killed in a Taliban assault on an army-run school in Peshawar on Tuesday. 

All six of the militants who entered the building are said to have been killed, at least one of them in a suicide blast, BBC reported. However, the army has not declared the operation over. Most of the 500 students have been evacuated.

The attack is being seen as one of the worst so far in Pakistan. The BBC’s Shahzeb Jillani in Karachi says the militants appear to have been intent on killing as many students as possible – rather than taking hostages, as initially thought.

Thousands of Pakistanis have been killed in militant violence in recent years – but the latest attack has caused unprecedented shock.

A spokesman for the militants 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.

Many of the casualties at the Army Public School were reportedly caused by the suicide blast. More than 100 of the dead were children, a local official told Reuters news agency.

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 quotes her as saying. The attack started at 10:00 local time (05:00 GMT).

Mudassir Awan, a worker at the school, said he had seen six people scaling its walls. “We thought it must be the children playing some game,” he told Reuters news agency. “But then we saw a lot of firearms with them.

“As soon as the firing started, we ran to our classrooms,” he said. “They were entering every class and they were killing the children.”

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