In an attack seven members of Tehrik-e-Taliban, the Pakistan Taliban, dressed in army uniform and wearing suicide vests, stormed the Army Public School mid-morning on Tuesday and began their shooting spree.
The seven attackers gained entrance to the school over a wall shared with a graveyard and then began shooting at random, searching out children hiding beneath desks and benches. The school roll was over 1,100; its pupils aged between five and 18. The army said 960 students and staff survived.
Officials say the attack in the north-western city is over, with all the attackers killed. Seven militants took part in all, according to the army.
Scores of survivors are being treated in hospitals as frantic parents search for news of their children.
The attack – the Taliban’s deadliest in Pakistan – has been widely condemned.
Describing the attack from his hospital bed , Shahrukh Khan, 17, said a gunman had entered his classroom and opened fire at random.
As he hid under a desk, he saw his friends being shot, one in the head and one in the chest. Two teachers were also killed.
Firefights with Pakistan commandos continued for about eight hours before the school was cleared. Pakistani security forces said some of the attackers had been killed by commandos and others had blown themselves up.
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan ( TTP ) claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in revenge for a ferocious army offensive – named Zarb-e-Azb – that has been underway in tribal areas since the summer and has left an estimated 1,000 Terrorists dead and tens of thousands of people displaced.
Pakistani Taliban spokesman Mohammad Khurasani said the militants had been “forced” to launch the attack in response to army attacks.
Hundreds of Taliban terrorists are thought to have died in a recent offensive in North Waziristan and the nearby Khyber area.
Late on Tuesday, military spokesman Asim Bajwa told reporters in Peshawar that 132 children and nine members of staff had been killed.
All seven of the attackers wore suicide bomb vests, he said. Scores of people were also injured.
It appears the terrorists scaled walls to get into the school and set off a bomb at the start of the assault.
Children who escaped say the terrorists then went from one classroom to another, shooting indiscriminately.
One boy told reporters he had been with a group of 10 friends who tried to run away and hide. He was the only one to survive.
Others described seeing pupils lying dead in the corridors. One local woman said her friend’s daughter had escaped because her clothing was covered in blood from those around her and she had lain pretending to be dead.
A hospital doctor treating injured children said many had head and chest injuries.
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 quoted her as saying.
The school is near a military complex in Peshawar. The city, close to the Afghan border, has seen some of the worst of the violence during the Taliban insurgency in recent years.
Many of the students were the children of military personnel. Most of them would have been aged 16 or under.
Leading figures in Pakistan expressed grief and indignation, against the Cowardly act of terrorism , which includes members of Shia Community , namely Allama Abbas Kumaili ( JAP ) , Raja Nasir Abbas ( MWM ) , and all other Notables condemned the attack , and demanded for broadening of the Horizon of Operation Zarb e Azb , to the settled areas also against the Terrorists and their supporters , who try to support them on Political and Sectarian Grounds.
The Pakistan military has taken punitive action against Taliban terrorists by launching massive air strikes against its border region strongholds in retaliation for the Peshawar school massacre that left 132 children and nine staff dead in one of the worst terrorist incidents in the country’s history.
The first indication that the response will be harsh came when Pakistan’s chief of staff, General Raheel Sharif, in a tweet, said “massive air strikes” had been carried out against targets in the Khyber region, a tribal agency adjacent to Peshawar.
The army chief’s first public remarks after the attack reflected rising anger. “These terrorists have struck the heart of the nation,” he said. “But our resolve to tackle this menace has gotten a new lease of life. We will pursue these monsters and their facilitators until they are eliminated for good.”
The government declared three days of national mourning. Around the country musicians cancelled concerts, cinemas dropped films and business owners said shops & Markets would remain closed.
This brutal attack may well be a watershed for a country long accused by the world of treating terrorists as strategic assets.
Pakistan’s policy-makers struggling to come to grips with various shades of terrorists have often cited a “lack of consensus” and “large pockets of sympathy” for religious terrorists as a major stumbling-block.
That is probably why, when army chief Gen Raheel Sharif launched what he called an indiscriminate operation earlier in the year against terrorists groups in Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt, the political response was lukewarm at best.
We will get them, was his message, be they Pakistani Taliban, Punjabi Taliban, al-Qaeda and affiliates, or most importantly, the dreaded Haqqani network. But the country’s Main Political leadership chose to remain largely silent. This is very likely to change now.
Pakistan has witnessed many terrorist incidents over the last decade , which were mostly given a sectarian look , as the Major attacks Initiated and till today were being carried out against the Shia Community of Pakistan , in which Hundreds of Community Members were Martyred , But due to Political ill will and Successive Governments associations with the terrorists outfits for their Political gains , has given them cover , for which the think tanks and Intellectuals have always warned that there is no sectarianism in Pakistan , but it is pure terrorism , which should be nipped in the Bud , but As earlier even the Establishment was even backing some terrorist networks , and then the successive Govts used their connections with these terrorist Organizations to gain their Political might , have always tried to hush these acts of terrorism of these terrorist organizations , under the carpet as acts of sectarianism , and as a result of those negligence and acts of Personal benefits , has pushed the country in the Quick sand of terrorism ,
It was all the same till the take over of the New Army Chief , who Not only vowed to act against the terrorists , but his actions even proved , as his wise decision of starting a Operational clean up , in the long awaited Army Operation in the North Waziristan , and the adjoining tribal Belt , has started to show the result, but over the Period of time the terrorist have already gained deep Penetration all over Pakistan , and has a vast network , so could not be eliminated in a short span of time , while it will take some time , if the Operation against the terrorists is been done with the same intensity and will , as it is being done at Present , under the command of the Present Army Chief , which looks to be Strong in his will and decision to Curb out the Menace of terrorism from Our Motherland Pakistan , which may be in any shape or form ,
The stepping-up of military operations in the Pakistan tribal areas looks as if it will coincide with the Afghanistan government confronting the challenge of the Afghanistan Taliban following the full withdrawal of all US and allied combat troops at the end of the month.
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan is allied to the Afghanistan Taliban, sharing similar aims & Ideology regarding the establishment of their own written Sharia law , which even confronts the Basic Principles of the Islam .