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At least 100 children killed in Taliban ‘massacre’
December 16, 2014, 2:06 pm

Volunteers hold an injured boy at a hospital in northwest Pakistan's Peshawar after six Taliban fighters stormed a school and killed at least 130 people [Xinhua]

Volunteers hold an injured boy at a hospital in northwest Pakistan’s Peshawar after six Taliban fighters stormed a school and killed at least 130 people [Xinhua]

Pakistani officials are warning that the death toll from Tuesday’s Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar could likely rise even as security forces engaged with heavily armed militants.

Six Taliban fighters stormed the Army Public School at around 10 in the morning and set off a number of explosions as they began to move from class to class executing children and teachers.

By 6pm local time, the Interior Ministry announced that at least 130 people had been killed, at least 100 of whom were children. Dozens of injured, some in critical situation, had been transported to local hospitals.

Local medical authorities have issued a call for blood donations.

Commando units say they evacuated all students and teachers, and issued a statement that the last of the six gunmen had been killed. There were unverified reports at press time that the attackers wore suicide belts.

The attack is seen as the worst ever in Pakistan’s war against the Taliban.

According to local media, a spokesperson for the Taliban appeared to indicate that the attack against the school was in retaliation for Pakistani military operations against the militants. Many of those slain in Tuesday’s attack are children of military officers.

“We selected the army’s school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females,” said Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani in comments carried by Reuters. “We want them to feel the pain.”

The attackers are believed to belong to the Tehrik-i-Taliban faction, formed as recently as 2007.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced three days of national mourning as he arrived in Peshawar.

He called the attack a “national tragedy … a national loss” but vowed that the government would stay the course until terrorism had been rooted out of Pakistan.

US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson said that Washington strongly condemned the “senseless and inhumane attacks on innocent students and educators, and stands in solidarity with the people of Pakistan”.

Malala Yousafzai, who last week shared a win of the Nobel Peace Prize for standing up to the Taliban and demanding education for girls and women, condemned the attack.

“Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this. 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,” she said.

Yousafzai herself survived being shot in the head by Taliban militants.

Source: Agencies

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