No fewer than 126 people, most of whom are children, have been killed by a group of gunmen who stormed an army-run school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday morning.
The Pakistan Taliban, Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan, TTP, claimed responsibility for the attack on Tuesday which has so far seen over 100 people injured as well.
It is yet unclear how many more children and teachers are still being held hostage in the school as at the time of filing this report.
Pervez Khattak, chief minister of the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said, “over 80 of the injured are children ranging from 12 to 16 years of age.”
He said, “two of the attackers are now dead, one blew himself up, while the other was killed by security forces.”
Earlier on, Shahram Khan, the province’s health minister, had told journalists that two teachers and an army official had also been killed, while 104 more were wounded.
It was further revealed by the Pakistan military that a rescue operation involving its troops is currently underway at the school, with gunfire still being exchanged.
Meanwhile Khattak said there was an “ongoing hostage situation.”
Pakistan takes on Taliban militants
While claiming responsibility for the brutal attack, in a telephone call, a spokesman for the TTP, who identified himself as Mohammed Khurrassani, claimed that six suicide bombers entered the school compound with orders to kill older students.
He added that “300 to 400 people are under custody of the suicide bombers” and that they are in contact with them.
Stating rationale behind the attack he said it was a revenge for the killing of hundreds of innocent tribesmen during repeated army operations in provinces including South Waziristan, North Waziristan and the Khyber Agency. These are all restive regions along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.
The Pakistan military, within the lags few months, had conducted a ground offensive aimed at clearing out militants in these areas. The campaign has displaced tens of thousands of people.