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Taliban storm Pakistani school, killing 126

The overwhelming majority of the victims were children and teenagers, who were in grades 1 to 10


 

Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing 126 people, officials said, in the worst attack to hit the country in years.

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.

The prime minister vowed that the country would not be cowed by the violence and that the military would continue with an aggressive operation launched in June in the North Waziristan tribal area to rout militants.

“The fight will continue. No one should have any doubt about it,” Sharif said.

It was not clear how many students and staff remained still inside the facility. A student who escaped and a police official on the scene earlier said that at one point, about 200 students were being held hostage. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.

One of the wounded students, Abdullah Jamal, said that 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 violence began for real.

When the shooting started, 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.

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

The school is located on the edge of a military cantonment in Peshawar, but the bulk of the students are civilian.

There was conflicting information about how many attackers carried out the violence, but it was a relatively small number.

Taliban spokesman Mohammed Khurasani claimed responsibility for the attack in a phone call to media, saying that six suicide bombers had carried out the attack in revenge for the killings of Taliban members at the hands of Pakistani authorities. But the chief minister said there were eight attackers, dressed in military uniforms. Two were killed by security forces and one blew himself up, Khattak said. The rest were still fighting.

The Pakistani military spokesman, Asim Bajwa, said on Twitter that five militants had been killed and that security forces had rescued two children and two staff members.

Peshawar has been the target of frequent militant attacks in the past but has seen a relative lull recently.

The Pakistani military launched a widespread military operation in the North Waziristan tribal area in June, vowing that it would go after all militant groups that had been operating in the area. With the launch of the operation, security officials and civilians feared a backlash by militants targeted by the military but until Tuesday a widespread backlash had failed to materialize.

Tuesday’s attack calls into question whether the militants have been crippled by the military or will be able to regroup. This appeared to be the worst attack in Pakistan since the 2008 suicide bombing in the port city of Karachi killed 150 people.

The violence also underscored the vulnerability of Pakistani schools, which was dramatically exposed in the attack two years ago on Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl shot in the head by a Taliban gunman outside her school in Swat Valley for daring to speak up about girls’ rights. She survived, becoming a Nobel Prize laureate and global advocate for girls’ education.

Militants have also blown up schools in the northwest.

 


 
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Taliban storm Pakistani school, killing 126

  1. I wonder how long it will be before the usual suspects start demanding we begin “discussions” with the animals who could do this? Will it be Tom Mulcair? Select Canadian journalists?

    Or better yet, let’s ask Justin Trudeau what he thinks of this slaughter. He can discuss why this attack happened, due to the “root causes” he still thinks are responsible for this type of barbarism.

    Stephen harper was widely criticized for not wanting to “negotiate” with this barbarians….and I imagine he will be again after this.

    YOU DON”T NEGOTIATE with this type fanatacism. YOU KILL IT. No compassion, no mercy, and to hell with the “human rights” of those who are capable of such atrocity. If the UN complains, or Amnesty International……let them.

    • Course there was that shooting of 20 school kids in Sandy Hook in the US….

      You know of course that the head of NATO thinks we should find the causes of these events?….just like Justin

      Amazing how keen you are to kill people….yet you probably have a problem swatting flies.

      • Actually, Emily….I knew in advance what your reply would be. I knew you would bring up a topic that had NOTHING to do with what is being discussed, just as I knew you would bring up Sandy Hook. Yes…you are that predictable in your idiocy.

        Sandy Hook was the result of a loner / loser with autism who couldn’t / wouldn’t fit in anywhere. The difference of course, is that Sandy Hook was just a lone nut-job, whereas what is being discussed in this thread is an organized, well planned attack on innocent kids by a GROUP of people who share the same ideology. And the same religion.

        Please provide the NATO link indicating the NATO Leader thinks the murder of these kids had a root cause? You won’t be able to…but keep trying.
        We already know the root cause, and have for generations. The root cause of this fanaticism is well known, and I have stated it repeatedly. Whenever this type of fanaticism occurs, you can be sure that the QURAN is not far behind.

        And as far as being keen to kill the type of people who can go into a classroom and murder children….you bet I am. Find out where these people are…and begin the carpet bombing. Then send in the ground troops to finish them off. Even if they have their hands up. Put a bullet in their brain.

        What is clear from your post however, is that you personally don’t give a damn about murdered kids, but instead prefer to brush it off as just another day in the life of your crazy world. You are clearly a narcissitic personality who’s level of concern for others’ doesn’t extend beyond the pharmacists who keeps you supplied with the meds required to keep the voices out of your head.

        Keep up the posting though, Emily, as even the other kooks who share some of your views see you for what you are.

        I’m awaiting your reply to see how you can twist this story to allow you to blame Jews or Israel. I’m sure you’ll find a way.

          • Once again Emily shows just how moral equivalence can blind one to the obvious.

            As I am not a Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or Jew…..I don’t fit into your description. I’m an athiest; which I told you repeatedly. But since you dump everything you have just read after you reply to any comment….I’m not surprised.

            I have yet to see you condemn any killing of innocents by any faction; unless of course, it is Israel or Jews. You apparently save your outrage when the dead are caused by Israel defending itself.

            Pakistani kids….not so much.

            I’d ask you not to change because you provide such comic relief…..but I know I won’t need to. You won’t change.

        • Your answer seems to be “kill all the fanatics”, but this seems to rally more support to their “cause,” and round and round it goes…..
          Now I don’t know what the answer is, but doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is surely insanity.

          • Yeah, it’s the fanaticism that’s the problem.

            All religions have their fundies, and they’re the ones who cause the problem.

            Education seems to be the only answer…and that’s more long-term on results, but I see it as the only useful direction. We can’t keep killing each other on the basis of fairy tales.

          • Walter,

            The problem is not that we are killing the fanatics. The problem is that we are not killing enough of them fast enough. We can make bullets faster than they can make terrorists.

            Time to show them what we can do when we’re serious.

          • Emily,

            132 dead Pakistani kids
            3000 victims of 9/11
            Belsan – over 120 dead kids
            etc…etc…etc…

            All killed by Islamic fanatics. (not the jews, not the Christians, not the Amish or buddhists…)

            Are these the fairy tales to which you refer?

            I don’t think anyone can fix your level of stupid. I just wish I didn’t have to keep paying for your rent or meds any longer.

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