Peshawar | About 500 students and teachers were believed to be inside the school when the attack started. Mushtaq Ghani, provincial information minister, said the militants entered through a graveyard which is adjacent to the school. The school is close to Saint Mary High School which has also been under threat since the last couple of days.
A heavy contingent of police and security forces have blocked the roads leading to the school, taking control of the entire area. In a brief statement, the army said: Rescue operation by troops underway. Exchange of fire continues. Bulk of student and staff evacuated.
The army had launched the massive military operation ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ in June following a brazen militant attack on Karachi’s international airport and the failure of peace talks between the government and the Taliban negotiators. The military has said more than 1,300 militants have been killed during the operation in North Waziristan and adjacent tribal region and it will continue till militancy was completely wiped out of Pakistan.
Opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan, whose party rules Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, termed the attack as an act of barbarism. In the wake of the attack, Khan postponed his plan to shut down the entire country that was planned for December 18.
Shagufta, who lives near the school, told Geo TV that she heard two explosions, a smaller one followed by a huge bang. A student who identified himself as Shuja told Samaa TV that they were taking examination when firing started. They were told by the teacher to lie down on the floor. He said they remained on floor for about one hour when army soldiers came and told them to go out.
Several students escaped through the back gate. One of students who escaped told Dunya TV that fourth period was in progress when they heard firing. First we didn’t know what has happened. But late an army officer told us to escape through back gate, he said.
A welcome ceremony planned in Lahore for the hockey team which won silver medal in the champion trophy in India has been postponed. Pakistan Hockey Federation said that the ceremony would be held at a future suitable time.
Defence minister Khawaja Asif said in a statement, We are deeply fragmented today as a nation. For the sake of the children martyred today and our children fighting the enemy for our existence, we must have one message for the enemy (that) we shall overcome inshallah and rid our land of this scourge. Zarb-e-Azb to continue with full force and (our) Armed forces remain undeterred.
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