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Peshawar carnage: ‘I saw kids falling down’

Peshawar carnage: ‘I saw kids falling down’
In a terror attack on a school in pakistan, at least 160 people, mostly children, were on Tuesday killed by heavily-armed Taliban suicide bombers who stormed an army-run school here and took several hostages, a throwback to the 2004 Beslan school siege by Chechen rebels. A group of 8 Arabic-speaking attackers, wearing paramilitary Frontier Corps uniforms, entered the Army Public School on Warsak Road around 10.30am  and started the massacre of innocents, spraying bullets indiscriminately, going from classroom-to-classroom.

The overwhelming majority of the victims were students at the army public school, which has children and teenagers in grades 1-10. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the assault and rushed to Peshawar to show his support for the victims.

The horrific attack, carried out by a relatively small number of militants from the Tehreek-e-Taliban group, a Pakistani militant group trying to overthrow the government, also sent dozens of wounded flooding into local hospitals as terrified parents searched for their children. ”My son was in uniform in the morning. He is in a casket now,” wailed one parent, Tahir Ali, as he came to the hospital to collect the body of his 14-year-old son Abdullah. “My son was my dream. My dream has been killed.”

The attack began in the morning hours, with about half a dozen gunmen entering the school - and shooting at random, said police officer Javed Khan. Army commandos quickly arrived at the scene and started exchanging fire with the gunmen, he said. Students wearing their green school uniforms could be seen on Pakistani television, fleeing the area Outside the school, two loud booms of unknown origin were heard coming from the scene in the early afternoon, as Pakistani troops battled with the attackers. Armored personnel carriers were deployed around the school grounds Details were sketchy in the face of the overwhelming tragedy. Pakistani television showed soldiers surrounding the area and pushing people back. Ambulances streamed from the area to local hospitals.

The information minister for the province, Mushtaq Ghani, said 126 people were killed in the attack. Most of the dead were students, children and teenagers, from the school, he said. Hospital officials said earlier that at least one teacher and a paramilitary soldier were among the dead.

Pervez Khattak, the chief minister of the province where Peshawar is located, said fighting was still underway in some parts of the school.

Malala ‘heartbroken’ by Pak school slayings

Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012, said she was “heartbroken” by “the senseless and cold blooded” killing of scores of children by Taliban militants Tuesday in Pakistan.At least 130 people, most of them children, were killed when gunmen stormed an army-run school in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar in an act that drew swift global condemnation.

“I am heartbroken by this senseless and cold blooded act of terror in Peshawar that is unfolding before us. Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this,” Malala said in a statement.“I condemn these atrocious and cowardly acts and stand united with the government and armed forces of Pakistan whose efforts so far to address this horrific event are commendable.” 

Seventeen-year-old Malala, who now lives in Britain, became a global icon after she was shot and nearly killed by the Taliban in her native Pakistan in October 2012 for insisting that girls had a right to an education.  The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack as retaliation for a major military offensive in the region, saying militants had been ordered to shoot older students.

Pakistani student who survived two bullets recounts horror

A teenage survivor of Tuesday’s Taliban attack on a Pakistan school described how he played dead after being shot in both legs by insurgents hunting down students to kill.

Militants rampaged through an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar and killed 160 people, most of them children, in one of the bloodiest ever attacks in Pakistan.

Speaking from his bed in the trauma ward of the city’s Lady Reading Hospital, Shahrukh Khan, 16, said he and his classmates were in a careers guidance session in the school auditorium when four gunmen wearing paramilitary uniforms burst in. ”Someone screamed at us to get down and hide below the desks,” he said, adding that the gunmen shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) before opening fire.“Then one of them shouted: ‘There are so many children beneath the benches, go and get them’,” Khan said.

“I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches.”Khan said he felt searing pain as he was shot in both his legs just below the knee. He decided to play dead, adding: “I folded my tie and pushed it into my mouth so that I wouldn’t scream. The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again. My body was shivering. I saw death so close and I will never forget the black boots approaching me -- I felt as though it was death that was approaching me.”

As his father, a shopkeeper, comforted him in his blood-soaked bed, Khan recalled: “The men left after some time and I stayed there for a few minutes. Then I tried to get up but fell to the ground because of my wounds. When I crawled to the next room, it was horrible. I saw the dead body of our office assistant on fire.  She was sitting on the chair with blood dripping from her body as she
burned.”

World leaders condemn the gruesome attack
British Prime Minister David Cameron in a Downing Street statement said, “The news from Pakistan is deeply shocking. It’s horrifying that children are being killed simply for going to school.” German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a statement he condemned the “criminal attack in the strongest terms”.

“The hostage-taking and murder of children exceeds in its cruel cowardice all that Pakistan, stricken by years of terror and violence, has known before. “We mourn with the people of Pakistan the victims of this bloody terrorist attack. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims. For the many injured we wish speedy recoveries.” The US embassy in Pakistan said in a statement: “The embassy said the US “strongly condemns senseless and inhumane attacks on innocent students and educators, and stands in solidarity with the people of Pakistan, and all who fight the menace of terrorism.” Afghanistan’s President AshrafGhanii said, “The killing of innocent children is contrary to Islam”.
Agencies

Agencies

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