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Pure Brutality: 141 People, At Least 130 Of Them Children Killed In Taliban Attack On School In Pakistan. Country Mourns (Video/Pics)

'Children forced to watch as their teacher was burned alive': Survivors reveal horror inside Pakistan school as nine Taliban gunmen bomb and shoot to death 132 children

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Associated Press) — In the deadliest slaughter of innocents in Pakistan in years, Taliban gunmen attacked a military-run school Tuesday and killed 141 people — almost all of them students — before government troops ended the siege.

The massacre of innocent children horrified a country already weary of unending terrorist attacks. Pakistan's teenage Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai — herself a survivor of a Taliban shooting — said she was "heartbroken" by the bloodshed.

Even Taliban militants in neighboring Afghanistan decried the killing spree, calling it "un-Islamic."

If the Pakistani Taliban extremists had hoped the attack would cause the government to ease off its military offensive that began in June in the country's tribal region, it appeared to have the opposite effect. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to step up the campaign that — along with U.S. drone strikes — has targeted the militants.

"The fight will continue. No one should have any doubt about it," Sharif said. "We will take account of each and every drop of our children's blood."

Taliban fighters have struggled to maintain their potency in the face of the military operation. They vowed a wave of violence in response to the operation, but until Tuesday, there has only been one major attack by a splinter group near the Pakistan-India border in November. Analysts said the school siege showed that even diminished, the militant group still could inflict horrific carnage.

The rampage at the Army Public School and College began in the morning when seven militants scaled a back wall using a ladder, said Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa, a military spokesman. When they reached an auditorium where students had gathered for an event, they opened fire.

A 14-year-old, Mehran Khan, said about 400 students were in the hall when the gunmen broke through the doors and started shooting. They shot one of the teachers in the head and then set her on fire and shouted "God is great!" as she screamed, added Khan, who survived by playing dead.

From there, they went to classrooms and other parts of the school.

"Their sole purpose, it seems, was to kill those innocent kids. That's what they did," Bajwa said. Of the 141 people slain before government troops ended the assault eight hours later, 132 were children and nine were staff members. Another 121 students and three staff members were wounded.

A man carries a student, who was injured during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, after he received treatment at a hospital in Peshawar, December 16, 2014. REUTERS-Khuram Parvez

The seven attackers, wearing vests of explosives, all died in the eight-hour assault. It was not immediately clear if they were all killed by the soldiers or whether they blew themselves up, he said.

The wounded — some still wearing their green school blazers — flooded into hospitals as terrified parents searched for their children. By evening, funeral services were already being held for many of the victims as clerics announced the deaths over mosque loudspeakers.

A man comforts his son, who was injured during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, at Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, December 16, 2014. REUTERS-Stringer

The government declared three days of mourning for what appeared to be Pakistan's deadliest since a 2007 suicide bombing in the port city of Karachi killed 150 people.

"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."

A mother mourns her son Mohammed Ali Khan, 15, a student who was killed during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, at her house in Peshawar December 16, 2014. REUTERS-Zohra Bensemra

One of the wounded students, Abdullah Jamal, said he was with a group of eighth, ninth and 10th graders who were getting first-aid instructions and training with a team of army medics when the violence became real. Panic broke out when the shooting began.

"I saw children falling down who were crying and screaming. I also fell down. I learned later that I have got a bullet," he said, speaking from his hospital bed.

Another student, Amir Mateen, said they locked the door from the inside when they heard the shooting, but gunmen blasted through anyway and opened fire.

Responding to the attack, armored personnel carriers were deployed around the school, and a military helicopter circled overhead.

A little more than 1,000 students and staff were registered at the school, which is part of a network run by the military, although the surrounding area is not heavily fortified. The student body is made up of both children of military personnel as well as civilians.

Most of the students appeared to be civilians rather than children of army staff, said Javed Khan, a government official. Analysts said the militants likely targeted the school because of its military connections.

"It's a kind of a message that 'we can also kill your children,'" said Pakistani analyst Zahid Hussain.

In a statement to reporters, Taliban spokesman Mohammed Khurasani claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was retribution for the military's operation in nearby North Waziristan, the northwestern tribal region where the group's fighters largely have been based.

"We targeted their kids so that they could know how it feels when they hit our kids," Khurasani said. He said the attackers were advised not to target "underage" children but did not elaborate on what that meant.

In its offensive, the military said it would go after all militant groups operating in the region. Security officials and civilians feared retribution by militants, but Pakistan has been relatively calm.

The attack raised the issue of whether this was the last gasp of a militant group crippled by a government offensive or whether the militants could regroup.

Hussain, the Pakistani analyst, called the attack an "act of desperation."

The violence will throw public support behind the campaign in North Waziristan, he said. It also shows that the Pakistani Taliban still maintains a strong intelligence network and remains a threat.

The attack drew swift condemnation from around the world. U.S. President Barack Obama said the "terrorists have once again showed their depravity."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry added: "The images are absolutely gut-wrenching: young children carried away in ambulances, a teacher burned alive in front of the students, a house of learning turned into a house of unspeakable horror."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, Pakistan's longtime regional rival, called it "a senseless act of unspeakable brutality."

"My heart goes out to everyone who lost their loved ones today. We share their pain & offer our deepest condolences," Modi said in a series of tweeted statements.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it was a "an act of horror and rank cowardice to attack defenseless children while they learn."

The violence recalled the attack on Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman outside her school in the Swat Valley for daring to speak up about girls' rights. She survived to become a global advocate for girls' education and received her Nobel Peace Prize last week, but has not returned to Pakistan in the two years since the shooting out of security concerns.

"Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this," the 17-year-old said. "I condemn these atrocious and cowardly acts."

___

Santana reported from Islamabad. Associated Press writers Asif Shahzad in Islamabad, Munir Ahmed in Peshawar, Ishtiaq Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan and Danica Kirka in London contributed to this report.


Children slaughtered as Taliban storms school

Pakistan begins painful task of burying its dead after school carnage

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taliban

A teacher is believed to have been burned alive while her pupils were forced to watch as Taliban gunmen stormed a school in Pakistan in an apparent revenge attack for Malala Yousafzai winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Nine Taliban terrorists attacked the Army Public School in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar today, slaughtering 132 children in the deadliest terrorist attack in the nation's history. 

Harrowing eyewitness accounts revealed how students were forced to watch as bodies were burned beyond recognition. Other survivors told how they played dead while insurgents scoured the school looking for children to shoot.

Now one expert has claimed that the horrific events which unfolded today could have been in retaliation to 15-year-old Malala winning this year's Nobel Peace Prize.  

The young schoolgirl - the youngest ever person to win the award - was shot by the Pakistani Taliban in 2012 while on a school bus, as punishment for advocating education for women in Pakistan. 

She has since become a worldwide symbol for the fight against oppression on women and the right to education.  

Ahmed Rashid, an expert on the Islamic militants, told the BBC that the insurgents had various reasons to attack the school - one of which was to send a message to Malala's supporters.

The Taliban has previously warned that Malala had forged a pact with 'Western satanic forces'.

Hours after the attack, Malala condemned the 'atrocious' events, saying she was 'heartbroken' by the 'cold-blooded act of terror'. 

The attack took place this morning as the gunmen stormed the school, later using gasoline to set one of the teachers on fire. The victim was said to be the wife of army soldier Subedar Abbass.

A source told NBC: 'They burnt a teacher in front of the students in a classroom. They literally set the teacher on fire with gasoline and made the kids watch.' 

Two bodies burned beyond recognition were taken to the Combined Military Hospital in Peshawar, MailOnline has been told. The victims may have been burned as a result of the suicide blast. 

One suicide bomber is believed to have blown himself up in a room full of 60 children while there were reports that some of the victims arriving at a hospital in Peshawar had been beheaded, though Pakistani authorities have yet to confirm this. 

The uncle and cousin of injured student Mohammad Baqair, center, comfort him as he mourns the death of his mother, who was a teacher at the school which was attacked by Taliban

The uncle and cousin of injured student Mohammad Baqair, center, comfort him as he mourns the death of his mother, who was a teacher at the school which was attacked by Taliban

A mother mourns her son Mohammed Ali Khan, 15, a student who was killed during the atrocity - the deadliest in Pakistan's history

A mother mourns her son Mohammed Ali Khan, 15, a student who was killed during the atrocity - the deadliest in Pakistan's history

A policeman stands beside empty coffins at the hospital after the school was stormed by nine terrorists

A policeman stands beside empty coffins at the hospital after the school was stormed by nine terrorists

Pakistani snipers take position near the school attacked by Taliban gunmen

Pakistani snipers take position near the school attacked by Taliban gunmen

Special forces soldiers surrounded the school after it was attacked by nine gunmen

Special forces soldiers surrounded the school after it was attacked by nine gunmen

A man comforts his son, who was injured during the attack

A man comforts his son, who was injured during the attack

Pakistani schoolgirls pray for the victims of the attack, which ended after a nine-hour gun battle

Pakistani schoolgirls pray for the victims of the attack, which ended after a nine-hour gun battle

ome of the bodies that have arrived at a hospital in Peshawar have been headless, though Pakistani Sauthorities have yet to confirm this 

Some of the bodies that have arrived at a hospital in Peshawar have been headless, though Pakistani authorities have yet to confirm this 

The attack started with the gunmen entering the 500-pupil school - which has students aged 10 to 18

The attack started with the gunmen entering the 500-pupil school - which has students aged 10 to 18

Injured children hospitalised after Taliban siege as death toll...
500 students taken hostage after Taliban storm school

The corridors of the city's Combined Military Hospital were lined with dead students, their green-and-yellow school uniform ties peeping out of white body bags.

One distraught family member was given the wrong body because the faces of many children were badly burned as a result of the suicide bomb explosions.

By nightfall, the death toll had reached 141, with the Pakistani military confirming that 132 of those were children, with another 122 children injured.

As the city began the devastating task of treating the horrifically wounded and identifying the dead, one grieving father told MailOnline: 'This is a terrible injustice. We are innocent people, my boys are innocents who do not carry guns and bombs.'

Meanwhile, terrifying accounts of the children's ordeal began to emerge.

A 10-year-old boy caught up in the massacre has spoken of his dramatic escape from Taliban gunmen as bullets whizzed past his head - having seen two of his classmates shot dead in front of him. 

Irfan Shah told how he was sitting in his class at 10:30 when he heard the sound of firing outside.

Shah told MailOnline: 'It was our social studies period. Our teacher first told us that some kind of drill was going on and that we do not need to worry. It was very intense firing. Then the sound came closer. Then we heard cries. One of our friends open the window of the class. 

'He started weeping as there were several school fellows lying on the ground outside the class. 

'Everybody was in panic. Two of our class fellows ran outside class in panic. They were shot in front of us.' 

He said that the teacher asked the children, part of a class of 33, to run towards the back gate of the school.

He continued: 'The back gate is around 200 meters from our class room. I tightly held the hand of my friend Daniyal and we both ran towards the back gate. We were weeping. I felt bullets passing by my head twice. It was so terrible. 

'We reached back gate in a minute. As we stepped outside the gate, we started weeping again very loudly. An aunt from a nearby house heard us and took us inside her house. We were shivering. She gave us water and comforted us. We stayed there for 15 minutes. 

'Our van always parked a few hundred meters away from the school. We then went to our van. The van driver told us that our school fellows who have been murdered in the attack are martyrs and they would go to jannah (paradise).

'We have been told that two of our class fellows died in the attack. They both were shot in front of all of us.'  

The Taliban said they sent the gunmen into the building as revenge for a Pakistan military crackdown on the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and allies in North Waziristan tribal heartlands. 

The TTP said many of their family members had been killed in the campaign, and said the attack on the school was in revenge for those deaths.

'We selected the army's school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females,' said Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani. 'We want them to feel the pain.'  

The attack started with nine gunmen entering the 500-pupil school - which has students aged 10 to 18 - in the early hours.

The jihadists shot their way into the building and went from classroom to classroom, shooting at random and picking off students one by one.

Army commandos quickly arrived at the scene and exchanged fire with the gunmen. Eyewitnesses described how students cowered under desks as dead bodies were strewn along corridors. News images of the aftermath of the attack showed boys in blood-soaked school uniforms with green blazers being carried from the scene.

After a nine-hour battle Pakistani special forces killed all nine terrorists. During this witnesses described hearing heavy gun fire and explosions.

A military source said that seven army personnel, including two officers, were wounded in the fighting.

It appeared to be the worst attack in Pakistan since a 2007 suicide bombing in the port city of Karachi killed 150 people

The gunmen, who several students said communicated with each other in a foreign language, managed to slip past the school's tight security because they were wearing Pakistani military uniforms.  

One 15-year-old student Shahrukh Khan, who was shot in both legs, told how he hid under a bench and played dead to avoid being killed by the insurgents.

Speaking from his bed in the trauma ward of the city's Lady Reading Hospital, the teenager told how he even shoved a tie in his mouth to stop him from screaming out in fear of the gunmen. 

The young boy described how, after they burst in shouting 'Allah-o-Akbar' - which means 'God is greatest' - one of them shouted: 'There are so many children beneath the benches, go and get them'.

He 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.'

Khan told how he tried to get up, but fell because of his injuries. Desperate to escape to safety, he crawled into the next room, where he the body of the school's office assistant body on fire.

He said: 'She was sitting on the chair with blood dripping from her body as she burned.' 

Khan, who said he also saw the body of a soldier who worked at the school, then crawled behind a door to hide, where he lost consciousness.

He added: 'One of my teachers was crying, she was shot in the hand and she was crying in pain.

'One terrorist then walked up to her and started shooting her until she stopped making any sound. All around me my friends were lying injured and dead.' 

THE SHOCKING, HEARTBREAKING EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS OF THE ATTACK

This morning just before 10am, all was well at the Army Public School in Peshawar, with teachers lecturing eager students and a first aid class being given in an auditorium.

Then all hell broke loose as nine Taliban gunmen burst into the school, shooting at random and blowing themselves up. 

As Pakistani special forces engaged the attackers, harrowing eyewitness accounts of the massacre emerged from survivors. 

One 15-year-old student Shahrukh Khan, who was shot in both legs, told how he hid under a bench and played dead to avoid being killed by the insurgents.

Speaking from his bed in the trauma ward of the city's Lady Reading Hospital, the teenager told how he even shoved a tie in his mouth to stop him from screaming out in fear of the gunmen. 

Khan described how, after they burst in shouting 'Allah-o-Akbar' - which means 'God is greatest' - one of them shouted: 'There are so many children beneath the benches, go and get them'.

He 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.'

Khan told how he tried to get up, but fell because of his injuries. Desperate to escape to safety, he crawled into the next room, where he the body of the school's office assistant body on fire.

He said: 'She was sitting on the chair with blood dripping from her body as she burned.' 

Khan, who said he also saw the body of a soldier who worked at the school, then crawled behind a door to hide, where he lost consciousness.

He added: 'One of my teachers was crying, she was shot in the hand and she was crying in pain.

'One terrorist then walked up to her and started shooting her until she stopped making any sound. All around me my friends were lying injured and dead.'

A 10-year-old boy caught up in the massacre also spoke of his dramatic escape from Taliban gunmen as bullets whizzed past his head - having seen two of his classmates shot dead in front of him.

Irfan Shah told how he was sitting in his class at 10:30 when he heard the sound of firing outside.

Shah told MailOnline: 'It was our social studies period. Our teacher first told us that some kind of drill was going on and that we do not need to worry. It was very intense firing. Then the sound came closer. Then we heard cries. One of our friends open the window of the class.

'He started weeping as there were several school fellows lying on the ground outside the class.

'Everybody was in panic. Two of our class fellows ran outside class in panic. They were shot in front of us.'

He said that the teacher asked the children, part of a class of 33, to run towards the back gate of the school.

He continued: 'The back gate is around 200 meters from our class room. I tightly held the hand of my friend Daniyal and we both ran towards the back gate. We were weeping. I felt bullets passing by my head twice. It was so terrible.

'We reached back gate in a minute. As we stepped outside the gate, we started weeping again very loudly. An aunt from a nearby house heard us and took us inside her house. We were shivering. She gave us water and comforted us. We stayed there for 15 minutes.

'Our van always parked a few hundred meters away from the school. We then went to our van. The van driver told us that our school fellows who have been murdered in the attack are martyrs and they would go to jannah (paradise).

'We have been told that two of our class fellows died in the attack. They both were shot in front of all of us.'

Amir Sohail Khan, 19, told MailOnline how he was at his college a few kilometres away from the school when he heard about the attack.

He said: 'I heard about it around 11 at my college. Then my uncle gave me a call and asked me to reach the school to check the whereabouts of my young cousins. One is seven and other is nine. It took me more than 45 minutes to reach the spot as army closed down all the roads and streets leading to school.'

He said that went to the main gate of the school around 12:30.

He continued: 'I saw a few soldiers trying to encircle a young man who was wearing a similar uniform to them. When soldiers tried to approach him, there was a huge blast. The other guy was one of the terrorists. This was such a horrible scene.

'For a few moments, I couldn't understand what was going on. I saw his body parts flying in the air after the blast. One of the soldiers was badly injured.'

Khan also saw terrorists firing indiscriminately in the class rooms on the second floor of the building.

He said: 'It is a huge double story building. I saw a terrorist getting into a classroom and firing like anything. Then I heard the cries and most of those crying became silent after a few minutes which means either they died or fainted.'

A soldier told him that the kids who had successfully managed to get out of school were in a nearby park.

He added: 'I went there but couldn't find my cousins among those kids. A soldier on told me that they might have died in the attack. I could not even imagine that. After, a few minutes I saw the elder one coming towards the park. I was never so happy and relieved to see him. He was weeping and shivering with fear. I held him to my chest. It was great feeling.

'Five minutes after him, my younger cousin also appeared. I lost my senses in happiness after seeing him. Our family is blessed. I saw mothers and fathers crying like mad at the gate of the school. I do not believe that we are so blessed.'

Mohammad Muneeb told how his 14-year-old brother Muhammad Shaheer was shot dead in front of him as 200 children sat in an auditorium, getting training in first aid.

'Two guards were there, sitting on the desk at the front, when four people wearing black uniform ran in. They just started firing. First they targeted the brigadier and his guards, the two guards were killed.

'The brigadier managed to get away safely and they started firing at the students.

'I saw my own brother die, he was shot in the throat.'

A school volunteer who did not want to be named described the auditorium shooting: 'I was working with the other organisations. What I saw was indescribable. I was in the auditorium when they burst in, it was 1030 when they broke in to the school. There was a function in the auditorium, they just opened fire on everyone. They just started firing and shooting violently with AK47s.

'There was around 200 children in the auditorium, all boys.'

Father Muhammad Dahir, a computer engineer, said: 'I am so sad, I cannot explain my feelings. I cannot speak. There are dead bodies everywhere. This city is filled with dead bodies. I cannot explain my feelings. What kind of horror are we involved in? We are in the frontline here. Everyone is pushing us, the Americans, our own government.'

Pharmacist Ahmed Salman, whose 15-year-old son was killed, said: 'I took my son to school this morning and I was at work when someone told me there was firing in the school. I went there and saw children being taken out in ambulances. I was searching but I could not find him. My younger brother called me and told me that Ahmed's body was lying in the mortuary of the military hospital.

'He had a bullet in his lungs.'

Mudassar Abbas, a physics laboratory assistant at the school, said some students were celebrating at a party when the attack began.

'I saw six or seven people walking class-to-class and opening fire on children,' he said.

Mudassir Awan, an employee at the school, said he saw at least six people scaling the walls of the building, but initially thought little of it.

'We thought it must be the children playing some game. But then we saw a lot of firearms with them,' he said.

'As soon as the firing started, we ran to our classrooms. They were entering every class and they were killing the children,' he added.

One of the wounded students, Abdullah Jamal, said he was with a group of 8th, 9th and 10th graders who were getting first-aid instructions and training with a team of Pakistani army medics when the attack began.

When the shooting started, Mr Jamal, who was shot in the leg, said nobody knew what was going on in the first few seconds.

'Then I saw children falling down who were crying and screaming. I also fell down. I learned later that I have got a bullet,' he said, speaking from his hospital bed.

'All the children had bullet wounds. All the children were bleeding,' he added.

Akhtar Ali, who works out for the UN, was weeping outside the school.

He told MailOnline: 'My 14-year-old niece Afaq is inside the school. I don't know if she is alive or dead. I am desperate. I am just waiting in hope. It is agony. '

'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.'

MailOnline spoke to Naveed Ahmed, who works at the irrigation department. He said: 'My son Hasid Asmad is 16-years-old, is still inside the school., He took a mobile and called me while I was in the mosque, he was praying down the phone. I have been waiting so many hours for news. My son told that he was being kept safe by the Pakistan army inside. They are taking a picture of them to prove they are safe.

'They have told me that the children are safe in the custody of the army.'

Mrs Humayun Khan, one of the mothers of a student, said with tears in her eyes: 'No body is telling me about my son's whereabouts... I have checked the hospital and he is not there. I am really losing my heart. God forbid may he's not among the students still under custody of terrorists.'

A student who survived the attack said soldiers came to rescue students during a lull in the firing.

'When we were coming out of the class we saw dead bodies of our friends lying in the corridors. They were bleeding. Some were shot three times, some four times,' the student said.

'The men entered the rooms one by one and started indiscriminate firing at the staff and students.'

Zakir Ahmad, who runs an electronics store in Peshawar, has lost his 16-year-old Abdullah and is frantically searching for 12-year-old Hassnain, who is still missing hours after the atrocity.

Crying and barely able to speak, he told MailOnline: 'When I heard there was an attack I ran to the school. I heard firing. I sent my cousins and staff to search the hospitals while I stayed praying at school. Then after an hour I got the call, he just said Abdullah is dead. I have found him in the hospital. I still don't know anything about my boy Hasnain.

'This is a terrible injustice. We are innocent people, by boys are innocents who do not carry guns and bombs. The only justice for me is to find these people who are supporting extremists and hang them in rows. Make them die for what they did.

'My son was such a good boy. Obedient, bright. When he was going to school this morning he came into my room and kissed me.' 

People carry a coffin of a student killed by the Taliban in today's massacre

People carry a coffin of a student killed by the Taliban in today's massacre

Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar 

Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar 

The school on Peshawar's Warsak Road is part of the Army Public Schools and Colleges System, which runs 146 schools nationwide for the children of military personnel and civilians

The school on Peshawar's Warsak Road is part of the Army Public Schools and Colleges System, which runs 146 schools nationwide for the children of military personnel and civilians

Amir Sohail Khan, 19, told MailOnline how he was at his college a few kilometres away from the school when he heard about the attack. 

He said: 'I heard about it around 11 at my college. Then my uncle gave me a call and asked me to reach the school to check the whereabouts of my young cousins. One is seven and other is nine. It took me more than 45 minutes to reach the spot as army closed down all the roads and streets leading to school.' 

He said that went to the main gate of the school around 12:30. 

He continued: 'I saw a few soldiers trying to encircle a young man who was wearing a similar uniform to them. When soldiers tried to approach him, there was a huge blast. The other guy was one of the terrorists. This was such a horrible scene. 

'For a few moments, I couldn't understand what was going on. I saw his body parts flying in the air after the blast. One of the soldiers was badly injured.'

Khan also saw terrorists firing indiscriminately in the class rooms on the second floor of the building.

He said: 'It is a huge double story building. I saw a terrorist getting into a classroom and firing like anything. Then I heard the cries and most of those crying became silent after a few minutes which means either they died or fainted.' 

A soldier told him that the kids who had successfully managed to get out of school were in a nearby park. 

He added: 'I went there but couldn't find my cousins among those kids. A soldier on told me that they might have died in the attack. I could not even imagine that. After, a few minutes I saw the elder one coming towards the park. I was never so happy and relieved to see him. He was weeping and shivering with fear. I held him to my chest. It was great feeling. 

'Five minutes after him, my younger cousin also appeared. I lost my senses in happiness after seeing him. Our family is blessed. I saw mothers and fathers crying like mad at the gate of the school. I do not believe that we are so blessed.'  

Mohammad Muneeb told how his 14-year-old brother Muhammad Shaheer was shot dead in front of him as 200 children sat in an auditorium, getting training in first aid.

'Two guards were there, sitting on the desk at the front, when four people wearing black uniform ran in. They just started firing. First they targeted the brigadier and his guards, the two guards were killed.

'The brigadier managed to get away safely and they started firing at the students.

'I saw my own brother die, he was shot in the throat.' 

A school volunteer who did not want to be named described the auditorium shooting: 'I was working with the other organisations. What I saw was indescribable. I was in the auditorium when they burst in, it was 1030 when they broke in to the school. There was a function in the auditorium, they just opened fire on everyone. They just started firing and shooting violently with AK47s.

'There was around 200 children in the auditorium, all boys.' 

Father Muhammad Dahir, a computer engineer, said: 'I am so sad, I cannot explain my feelings. I cannot speak. There are dead bodies everywhere. This city is filled with dead bodies. I cannot explain my feelings. What kind of horror are we involved in? We are in the frontline here. Everyone is pushing us, the Americans, our own government.' 

Pharmacist Ahmed Salman, whose 15-year-old son was killed, said: 'I took my son to school this morning and I was at work when someone told me there was firing in the school. I went there and saw children being taken out in ambulances. I was searching but I could not find him. My younger brother called me and told me that Ahmed's body was lying in the mortuary of the military hospital.

'He had a bullet in his lungs.' 

Mudassar Abbas, a physics laboratory assistant at the school, said some students were celebrating at a party when the attack began.

'I saw six or seven people walking class-to-class and opening fire on children,' he said.

Mudassir Awan, an employee at the school, said he saw at least six people scaling the walls of the building, but initially thought little of it.

'We thought it must be the children playing some game. But then we saw a lot of firearms with them,' he said.

'As soon as the firing started, we ran to our classrooms. They were entering every class and they were killing the children,' he added.  

One of the wounded students, Abdullah Jamal, said he was with a group of 8th, 9th and 10th graders who were getting first-aid instructions and training with a team of Pakistani army medics when the attack began.

When the shooting started, Mr Jamal, who was shot in the leg, said nobody knew what was going on in the first few seconds.

'Then I saw children falling down who were crying and screaming. I also fell down. I learned later that I have got a bullet,' he said, speaking from his hospital bed.

'All the children had bullet wounds. All the children were bleeding,' he added.  

A local hospital said the dead and wounded it had seen were aged between 10 and 20 years old.  

Pakistani army personnel leave the school following the attack

Pakistani army personnel leave the school following the attack

Pakistani army personnel make their way to the military operation following the attack

Pakistani army personnel make their way to the military operation following the attack

A Pakistani girl, who was injured in the attack, is rushed to a hospital in Peshawar

A Pakistani girl, who was injured in the attack, is rushed to a hospital in Peshawar

A hospital security guard helps a student injured in a shootout at a military school in Peshawar

A hospital security guard helps a student injured in a shootout at a military school in Peshawar

Pakistani security forces takes up positions on a road leading to the Army Public School

Pakistani security forces takes up positions on a road leading to the Army Public School

Ambulances drive away from the military run school, which was attacked by the Taliban in the early hours

Ambulances drive away from the military run school, which was attacked by the Taliban in the early hours

School was stormed by six gunmen in military fatigues , it was reported

A Pakistani soldier takes up a position above a road near the school

A Pakistani soldier takes up a position above a road near the school

Earlier, at least three explosions were heard inside the high school, and a MailOnline journalist at the scene said he heard heavy gunfire.

A security official speaking on condition of anonymity said two helicopter gunships are on site, but had been prevented from firing on the militants because students and teachers were inside the building.

Outside, as the helicopters rumbled overhead, police struggled to hold back distraught parents who were trying to break past a security cordon and get into the school. 

Akhtar Ali, who works out for the UN, was weeping outside.

He told MailOnline: 'My 14-year-old niece Afaq is inside the school. I don't know if she is alive or dead. I am desperate. I am just waiting in hope. It is agony. '

'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.' 

MailOnline spoke to Naveed Ahmed, who works at the irrigation department. He said: 'My son Hasid Asmad is 16-years-old, is still inside the school., He took a mobile and called me while I was in the mosque, he was praying down the phone. I have been waiting so many hours for news. My son told that he was being kept safe by the Pakistan army inside. They are taking a picture of them to prove they are safe.

'They have told me that the children are safe in the custody of the army.' 

Mrs Humayun Khan, one of the mothers of a student, said with tears in her eyes: 'No body is telling me about my son's whereabouts... I have checked the hospital and he is not there. I am really losing my heart. God forbid may he's not among the students still under custody of terrorists.'

A student who survived the attack said soldiers came to rescue students during a lull in the firing.

'When we were coming out of the class we saw dead bodies of our friends lying in the corridors. They were bleeding. Some were shot three times, some four times,' the student said.

'The men entered the rooms one by one and started indiscriminate firing at the staff and students.' 

Zakir Ahmad, who runs an electronics store in Peshawar, has lost his 16-year-old Abdullah and is frantically searching for 12-year-old Hassnain, who is still missing hours after the atrocity.

Crying and barely able to speak, he told MailOnline: 'When I heard there was an attack I ran to the school. I heard firing. I sent my cousins and staff to search the hospitals while I stayed praying at school. Then after an hour I got the call, he just said Abdullah is dead. I have found him in the hospital. I still don't know anything about my boy Hasnain.

An army helicopter flies over the Army Public School that was attacked earlier today

'This is a terrible injustice. We are innocent people, my boys are innocents who do not carry guns and bombs. The only justice for me is to find these people who are supporting extremists and hang them in rows. Make them die for what they did.

'My son was such a good boy. Obedient, bright. When he was going to school this morning he came into my room and kissed me.'

Mushtaq Ghani, the spokesman for the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, told journalist Aamir Iqbal: 'At least six militants wearing military uniforms entered the school from back wall of the school that is known as 'Army Public School'.

'There is a graveyard attached to back wall of the school that is run by Pakistani Military, most of the students studying in this school were children of military officers.

'Attacking innocent children is the most abominable crime and such an attack will not be accepted at all.

'This can be the reaction of ongoing military operations against terrorists in the North Waziristan area of Pakistan.'

Student Shuja khan claimed that 'the attack took place the time a senior military officer started his address during the function that was going on inside the school'.

He added: 'I am not sure but he was the Corp Commander Peshawar who when he started his speech terrorists opened fire on the students sitting in the function.'

THE PAKISTAN TALIBAN: A HISTORY OF SLAUGHTER 

Over 1,000 schools have been destroyed by the Pakistan Taliban since 2010, but today's massacre isn't just the worst atrocity carried out on a school, but on any target.

In May 2010, members of the organisation stormed two mosques packed with worshippers, throwing grenades and indiscriminately opening fire. The ensuring shootout and hostage situation left 94 dead and more than 120 injured.

Up to 2,000 worshippers were thought to have been in the two mosques in Lahore, Pakistan's second city, when the two groups of at least seven gunmen and three suicide bombers struck as traditional Friday prayers ended.

In June this year, the Pakistan Taliban killed 29 people in a terrifying siege on Karachi Airport when ten gunmen dressed as Airport Security Force officials stormed Terminal One.

Armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, they triggered a gun battle that raged for 10 hours and left dozens dead and wounded.

Afterwards, the group claimed the attack was revenge for the death of its leader Shahidullah Shahid. It was believed they militants intended to destroy or hijack aircraft before they were stopped by the security personnel and commandos.

Angered at US drone strikes on its mountain retreats, in June last year a group of Taliban gunmen slaughtered 10 tourists at the base of Nanga Parbat, in an attack that sent shockwaves through the climbing community.

The gunmen were wearing uniforms used by the Gilgit Scouts, a paramilitary police force that patrols the area. They abducted two local guides to find their way to the remote base camp - one of which was killed in the shooting.

The Taliban has also attempted to enforce its opposition to women's rights to education through violence. In January last year, five female teachers were massacred when militants ambushed a van transporting them home from their jobs at a community centre.

The teachers and two health workers - one man and one woman - were killed in the conservative Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province when the militants on motorcycles opened fire with automatic weapons.

It was in this region that a Taliban gunman shot 15-year-old Malala Yousufzai in the head last October for criticizing the militants and promoting girls' education. Last week she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

However, the bloodshed in Pakistan pales in comparison to the violence perpetrated by the neighbouring Afghanistan Taliban.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the organisation has been held responsible for several massacres in the cities of Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif that left thousands dead.

Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar

Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar

A school boy who was injured in the Taliban attack receives medical treatment at a hospital in Peshawar

A school boy who was injured in the Taliban attack receives medical treatment at a hospital in Peshawar

Taking no chances: Pakistani security forces form a perimeter around the school

Taking no chances: Pakistani security forces form a perimeter around the school

A soldier escorts schoolchildren after they were rescued from the Army Public School

A soldier escorts schoolchildren after they were rescued from the Army Public School

Mohammad Khorasani, the spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban group - known as Tehrik-i-Taliban -  accepted responsibility for the attack.

He said: 'It's a gift for those who thought they have crushed us in their so called military operation in North Waziristan.

'They [the Pakistani military] were always wrong about our capabilities, We are still able to carry out major attacks. Today was just the trailer.

'Six of our Mujahideen, including three suicide bombers took part in this attack and with the grace of almighty they all executed the plan very accurately.

'We selected the army's school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females. We want them to feel the pain.' 

The military intelligence agencies have now taken away the prayer leaders of Behari and Aabshar colony, adjacent to Army Public school, along with 27 other suspected people from the nearby streets. 

One of the prayer leaders is said to be Khaliq jan from Darra Adam Khel, some 23 kilometers South of Peshawar. All the arrested people have been taken away to an unknown location for interrogation.

Sources have said that even the senior figures of the provincial government have not been informed about the identification of the detainees. But it is said that senior army officials in Peshawar are well informed about them.

It is believed that terrorists have been provided refuge in the nearby streets which are adjacent to school by some locals.

The officials of law enforcing agencies remained present in these streets till late night and investigating the locals.

It is said that the attack was planned by experts. 'They knew that children of many army personnel are studying in the school,' an investigative official told MailOnline.

'Also they had the complete information that wives of certain army officials are teachers in the school.'

Wife of Subedar Abbass was torched to death, while wives of Brigadier Tariq and Major Jamshed were also killed.

A son of Subedar Mazhar, who was student, was also killed when he was identified by terrorists. 

THE SCENE OF THE MASSACRE: A BURGEONING PESHAWAR SCHOOL 

The school on Peshawar's Warsak Road at the centre of today's massacre was established in 1992 for boys and girls of both military personnel and civilians.

Although it was originally founded in 1992, within two years, it had rapidly grown into a large institution with hundreds of students extending from primary through to high school.

It was in 1994 that it was formally registered within the Army Public Schools and Colleges System (APSACS).

It was popular with students for its extra-curricular clubs - these included journalism, sports and debating programmes.

Students were today tweeting its motto - 'I shall rise and shine' - in a show of solidarity with those killed.

It is just one of 22 schools throughout the Peshawar region that are part of the APSACS chain.

Nationwide, there are 146 of these institutions, with 134,296 registered students and almost 8,000 teachers on the books.

This makes the system the largest contributor of national integration in the country.

However, fears have been raised that institutions such as schools and churches are becoming a 'soft target' for militants intent on waging war against the government.

Talat Masood, a retired general and security analyst, said the attack was intended to weaken the military's resolve.

'It is both tactical and strategic. The militants know they won't be able to strike at the heart of the military, they don't have the capacity because the army are prepared.

'So they are going for soft targets. These attacks have a great psychological impact.'

People carry the casket of a victim of the Taliban attack, after receiving it from a local hospital in Peshawar

People carry the casket of a victim of the Taliban attack, after receiving it from a local hospital in Peshawar

Prime Minister David Cameron today said the Taliban attack on the military school was 'deeply shocking'

Prime Minister David Cameron today said the Taliban attack on the military school was 'deeply shocking'

Details were sketchy in the unfolding situation and it was unclear what was going on inside the school and if any of the students were taken hostage

Details were sketchy in the unfolding situation and it was unclear what was going on inside the school and if any of the students were taken hostage

Mohammad Khorasani, the spokesman for Pakistani's Taliban Fazal Ullah group, accepted responsibility for the attack 

Mohammad Khorasani, the spokesman for Pakistani's Taliban Fazal Ullah group, accepted responsibility for the attack 

A man talks on a phone, with his arm around a student, during the attack

A man talks on a phone, with his arm around a student, during the attack

A plainclothes security officer escorts students rescued from a nearby school

A plainclothes security officer escorts students rescued from a nearby school

Schoolchildren cross a road as they move away from the military run school

Schoolchildren cross a road as they move away from the military run school

Pakistani rescue workers take out students from an ambulance injured in the shootout

Pakistani rescue workers take out students from an ambulance injured in the shootout

Taliban gunmen took hundreds of students hostage in this military-run school

Taliban gunmen took hundreds of students hostage in this military-run school

Heavily armed Pakistani troops arrive at the scene

Heavily armed Pakistani troops arrive at the scene

TIME-LINE OF TERROR 

A look at some of the major attacks in Pakistan in recent years:

2014

- Nov. 2: Taliban suicide bomber kills 60 in attack on a paramilitary checkpoint close to the Wagah border crossing with India.

- June 9: Ten gunmen disguised as police guards attack a terminal at Pakistan's busiest airport with machine guns and a rocket launcher, killing 13 people during a five-hour siege.

- 8 June: A suicide bomber in the country's southwest killed at least 23 Shiite pilgrims returning from Iran.

2013

-Sept. 22: A twin suicide bomb blast in a Peshawar church kills at least 85 people.

-Aug. 17: Heavily armed Taliban fighters blast their way into a Pakistani air force base, leaving two security officers and nine insurgents dead.

-June 22: 10 Foreign climbers killed by militants on Nanga Parbat, ninth highest mountain in world.

-March 3: Explosion in Karachi kills 45 Shiites outside a mosque.

- Jan. 10: Bombing in Shiite area of southern city of Quetta kills 81 people, wounds 120.

2012

- Nov. 22: A Taliban suicide bomber struck a Shiite Muslim procession in the city of Rawalpindi, near Pakistan's capital, killing 23 people.

- Jan. 5: Taliban shoot and kill 15 Pakistani frontier police after holding them hostage for more than a year.

2011

- Sept. 20: Militants kill at least 26 Shiites on a bus near the southern city of Quetta.

- May 23: Pakistani commandos recapture a major naval base from Taliban attackers who struck to avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden in a U.S. raid. Militants destroyed two U.S.-supplied surveillance aircraft and killed at least 10 personnel.

- May 13: A pair of Taliban suicide bombers attacks paramilitary police recruits in Shabqadar, killing 80, also in retaliation for bin Laden's killing.

2010

- Nov. 5: A suicide bomber strikes a Sunni mosque in Darra Adam Khel in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least 67 during Friday prayers.

- Sept. 1: A triple Taliban suicide attack on a Shiite Muslim procession kills 65 in the southwestern city of Quetta.

- July 9: Two suicide bombers kills 102 people in the Mohmand tribal region.

- July 2: Suicide bombers attack Pakistan's most revered Sufi shrine in the eastern city of Lahore, killing 47 people.

- May 29: Two militant squads armed with hand grenades, suicide vests and assault rifles attack two mosques of the Ahmadi minority sect in Lahore, killing 97.

- March 13: Two suicide bombers targeting army vehicles in Lahore kill more than 55 people.

- Jan. 1: A suicide bomber drives a truckload of explosives into a volleyball field in Lakki Marwat district in the northwest, killing at least 97 people.

2009

- Dec. 28: Bomb blast kills at least 44 at a Shiite procession in the southern city of Karachi.

- Dec. 7: Two bombs kill 48 at a market in the eastern city of Lahore, while a suicide bomber kills 10 people outside a Peshawar courthouse.

- Oct. 9: A suicide car bomber hits a busy market area in Peshawar, killing 53.

- May 27: A suicide car bomber targets police and intelligence offices in the eastern city of Lahore, killing about 30 people.

- March 27: A suicide bomber demolishes a packed mosque near the northwestern town of Jamrud, killing about 50. 


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Comment by Bigmikey on December 20, 2014 at 11:18pm
People have compassion for little lives such a disgrace
Comment by Big Woman on December 17, 2014 at 2:31pm
Even the other Talibans came out against this slaughter of innocents. What a horrible thing to do children. God help us all.
Comment by BEYGUM KHAN on December 17, 2014 at 12:56pm

I WOULD LIKE TO SEE ALL TALIBANS SHOT DEAD ON THE SPOT...........WHY IS IT THEY ARE ALLOWED TO GO INTO A SCHOLL AND KILLED INNOCENT CHILDREN......I AM SO SICK OF THESE TERRORISTS....THESE A******* NEEDS TO BE EXECUTED!!

Comment by Panache E-P on December 17, 2014 at 7:17am

The horrific evils that this world falls under...horrific.  May God rest their souls, and help the hearts and grief of their loved ones.  That country needs healing.

Comment by Jahbass on December 17, 2014 at 12:03am
Thise people are barbarians and one day they all are go.na be cast away from this earth and their face eill show mo moe,people of their decent are birn nurderers its in their genes it's their curse but their day of reconing will come.
Comment by Bombahdrop on December 16, 2014 at 9:39pm

Now just imagine what the rescued ones that survived are feeling like after seeing some s*** like this OMG

Comment by Bombahdrop on December 16, 2014 at 9:37pm

That's the Devil son, he making sure this world don't stand a chance to be saved. This is so so so sad. They will reap what they sow, same thing will be done to them, for eternity God don't play with innocence of a child. Man is so dam  EVIL, DAM !!

Comment by gmich007 on December 16, 2014 at 9:13pm
The subject in my email read this: "Gunmen shoot 132 children DEAD before forcing them 2 watch their teacher BURN alive"

I wish Caribbean Fever would proofread before sending stuff out.

Nonetheless, thus is a sad world we live in. May the families of the victims somehow find peace in all of this. R.I.P. to the victims.
Comment by Johnathan Talbain on December 16, 2014 at 7:52pm
This...

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