Millennium Post

Innocence felled

“The combat operation is over, the security personnel are carrying out clearance operation and hopefully they will clear the building in a while,” said police official Abdullah Khan. 

Health Secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mustaq Jadoon said that the death toll has risen to 141 with 114 injured. Pakistan bled on Tuesday morning when heavily-armed Taliban suicide bombers stormed an army-run school and took several hostages, a throwback to the 2004 Beslan school siege by Chechen rebels.

A group of eight Arabic-speaking attackers, wearing paramilitary Frontier Corps uniforms, entered the Army Public School on Warsak Road around 10.30 am, local time and started the massacre of innocents, spraying bullets indiscriminately, going from classroom-to-classroom.They also took several hostages using them as human shield. The death toll in the attack has reached 130 with a majority of them being young students, official sources said.

They said that all the militants have died -- four of them blew themselves up while two were shot dead by security forces.. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack, one of the worst in recent years.The Taliban spokesman claimed that its six suicide bombers attacked army school, saying it was a revenge for the army’s operation against militants in the North Waziristan tribal area close to Peshawar. “We want them to feel our pain,” the spokesman said.

World leaders united in condemning the attack as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif termed it a “national tragedy” and chaired a security meeting in Peshawar where he was briefed about the attack and operation.

Sharif reiterated that military operation ‘Zarb-e-azab’ to flush out terrorists from the country’s tribal belt will continue. “It’s a sheer act of cowardice... the country should unite to combat terrorism,” he added.Army Chief General Raheel Sharif also reached Peshawar to monitor the situation.

In one of the most gruesome attacks in recent years against children anywhere in the world, the militants went from classroom-to-classroom shooting indiscriminately at the shocked students, eyewitnesses told local media.

One rescued student told reporters that the attackers had long beards and they were wearing ‘salwar kamiz’. He said they were speaking Arabic and looked like foreigners.In the incident in Beslan in North Ossetia, Russia, at least 32 armed individuals stormed a school and took more than 1,000 hostages, majority of them children. Over 330 people, mostly children, were killed in the assault.

About 500 students and teachers were believed to be inside the school when the attack started.

Mushtaq Ghani, provincial information minister, said the militants entered through a graveyard which is adjacent to the school. The school is close to Saint Mary High School which has also been under threat since the 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. Opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan, whose party rules Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, termed the attack as an act of “barbarism”.

In the wake of the attack, Khan postponed his plan to shut down the entire country that was planned for December 18. 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 giving their examination when firing started. They were told by the teacher to lie down on
the floor.
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