Pakistani operation to rescue students at school is over

A group of gunmen who have killed at least 132 students at a school in northwestern Pakistani city Peshawar began their siege by burning their car, a sign that they had no intention of returning, according to officials

Pakistani operation to rescue students at school is over

World Bulletin/News Desk

A Pakistani army operation to rescue students trapped inside a military-run school in the city of Peshawar ended after a nine hour battle with a group of Taliban insurgents, a military source said.

"The operation is complete," said the source, adding that all nine militants were dead after hours of fighting.

He said seven army personnel, including two officers, were wounded.

A group of gunmen who have killed at least 132 students at a school in northwestern Pakistani city Peshawar began their siege by burning their car, a sign that they had no intention of returning, according to officials and eyewitnesses. 

Dressed in the uniforms of a local government-backed paramilitary, the militants started their attack by scaling the school's wall and entering the auditorium where a farewell party was being held for the oldest students, who had recently finished their final examinations.

They immediately began firing on the students, killing and injuring many of them. The attack has been claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan militant coalition, who called it a "response" the Pakistan army's anti-militant operations in the North Waziristan tribal area, which began six months ago on June 15. 

“I was trying to snatch my cap from [my friend] Mustafa when I heard sounds of shots. Our class teacher, who was standing outside, entered the auditorium and shouted, lay down, lay down,” Muddassir Shah, one of the celebrating students, told The Anadolu Agency. “She closed the auditorium’s main door, and rushed to close the back door as heavy firing began outside. As we were trying to figure out what was happening, someone started hitting the main door, and in no time broke it."

“What I remember is, he was a clean-shaven tall man carrying a ferocious gun. He was followed by another armed man. The first man shouted in Pashtu and ordered his aide to open fire. Our screams and firing began simultaneously as both gunmen sprinkled students with bullets,” Shah recalled, lying on his bed at Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar’s largest, where he was being treated.

“We were screaming, running and falling on each other as over 200 people were at the auditorium at that time. The first thing that came to my mind was that I am going to die. I started running without seeing what was happening behind me,” said Shah.

Mahmood Khan, one of the younger students, said the attackers burst into his class and started firing. 

"My mind was completely blank as bullets were hitting and injuring my colleagues,” Khan told the AA. “I fell on the ground while trying to hide behind a table. All of a sudden three blood-soaked bodies fell on me. Their blood soaked my body and clothes. I do not know how and why but I closed my eyes.”

“I do not want to recall that horrible scene. All my class fellows were either dead or badly injured. Chairs, tables, bags, and books, everything was littered by blood,” Khan said.

Shuja Talib Ali was one of the students who escaped from the auditorium. Ali told the media afterwards: "We ran towards the backdoor as terrorists kept firing on us. Many of my colleagues fell on the ground but I did not look back." 

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Aralık 2014, 16:26
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