Peshawar school attack: As it happened

In one of the worst acts of human savagery ever perpetrated, the Pakistani Taliban senselessly slaughtered 146 school children in a brazen terror attack launched by its heavily armed gunmen and suicide bombers on an army-run school in Pakistan's Peshawar city in retaliation to Pakistan Army's operation against extremists in North Waziristan.

Peshawar school attack: As it happened
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11: 34 pm: US Secretary of State John Kerry pledged "full support" to Pakistan and said, "The news of the brazen murder of more than 120 innocent students in Peshawar is devastating. And as a father, I know exactly how hard it is when you send kids out of house into the world, to school or anywhere, and particularly in today's world."

11: 16 pm: US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel terms the "heartless slaughter" of 141 students and teachers as an act of "pure cowardice."

"On behalf of all the men and women of the US Defense Department, I extend our deepest condolences to the people of Pakistan following today's ruthless attack on the army public school in Peshawar," Hagel said in a statement.

"This heartless slaughter of over 100 innocent students and teachers was an act of pure cowardice. The United States remains committed to supporting Pakistan in its efforts to combat extremism and ensure stability in the region," he added.

11: 10 pm: 'Appeal to schools across India to observe 2 minutes of silence tomorrow as a mark of solidarity', tweets PM Modi. 

11: 00 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on Peshawar school attack, expresses India's deep felt condolences over the 'barbaric killings'​.

10: 20 pm: As Pakistan vigorously battles to overcome the heinous Peshawar's Army school attack carried out by Taliban militants on Tuesday, India came out in support of it's neighbouring nation. Many Indians took to Twitter and expressed their solidarity with Pakistan by tweeting #IndiawithPakistan.

10: 15 pm: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon led the world body in condemning the "blood curdling" Taliban attack on "defenceless" children, saying no cause can justify such brutality and horror.

Ban said the "hearts of the world go out" to the parents and families of those killed in the brazen attack.

10: 00 pm: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to speak to Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif and personally offer condolences, as per reports.

09: 30 pm: As the blood-soaked day of December 16 buried itself into a sullen evening in Peshawar, the air was heavy with indescribable grief and remnants of screams of the innocent victims' devastated kins. The intense darkness in the city appeared more conspicuos in the flickers of candles as civil society members held a candle light vigil in Peshawar.

09: 15 pm: After more than a hundred pure souls were slain by the coward Taliban, the city of Peshawar seems to be enveloped in a shroud of mourning and grief. Funeral prayers and burial services of the deceased of Peshawar Attacks have started.

09: 00 pm: In a significant detail emerging after the deadly assault on school, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa home department has tweeted that the attackers were not Pakistani as they had a foreign accent and spoke Arabic. They appeared to be Uzbeks.

 

08: 40 pm: Showing solidarity in the aftermath of the school attack, some TV channels in Pakistan have decided to stop all music and background music stops.

08: 30 pm: In the aftermath of the heinous Taliban raid on Peshawar school, Pakistan's Islamic scholars have come together to call for a national level fatwa branding all such attacks

08: 15 pm: US ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson too slammed the Taliban for the "senseless and inhumane attacks on innocent students and educators" and offered condolences to the kins of those killed.

 

08:10 pm: Condemning the "horrific" attack, US President Barack Obama issued a statement saying, "By targeting students and teachers in this heinous attack, terrorists have once again shown their depravity." He reiterated that US would continue to extend support to Pak government in fight against terror.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims, their families and loved ones,"he added.

8: 00 pm: As the Taliban school raid unfolded for hours in Peshawar, netizens were quiet active on Twitter expressing dismay and disgust at the gory attack that saw many innocent lives being terminated unceremoniously. Hashtags like #Peshawar, #PakSchoolSiege and also #IndiawithPakistan were trending big time on Twitter which was abuzz with loads of tweets being poured about the incident.

Read More: Peshawar school attack: How the Twitter world reacted...

7: 50 pm: DG Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj-Gen Asim Bajwa has tweeted that Pakistan’s military has hit back and carried out many raids including 10 air strikes in Khyber today. In another tweet, he added that the COAS was extremely saddened by the gory attack that killed so many children, however vowed that "our resolve has taken new height. Will continue to go after inhuman beasts, their facilitators till their final elimination".

 

7: 40 pm: Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif cut short his Quetta visit and reached Peshawar, where he vowed to continue the fight untill all terrorists are eliminated.

7:30 pm: Meanwhile, forces continue to scour Army Public School pemises for more injured ones or survivors after Pakistan Army has eliminated all the terrorists, tweeted Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Home Department.

 

7:20 pm: Peshawar police have finally managed to kill all the militants and the gory attack by Talibani suicide bombers has come to an end, the AFP reports. 

7:15 pm:  Latest reports say that at least 146 people, mostly children, have been killed by heavily-armed Taliban suicide bombers who stormed an army-run school in Peshawar. The death toll figure was estimated by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Shireen Mazari who added that out of 146, nearly 140 killed are children, the Dawn reported.

7: 00 pm: In a heart-rending account straight from the mouth of an injured child, 16-year-old Shahrukh Khan, said that how he would never forget the horror of a pair of "black boots approaching" him as he played dead beneath the bench in the school even as both his legs had bullets inside.

An AFP report quotes the 16-year-old as he recounts the grisly event speaking from his bed in the trauma ward of the city`s Lady Reading Hospital.

"One of them shouted: `There are so many children beneath the benches, go and get them... I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches," the child told AFP.

He narrated how he folded his tied and stuffed it into his mouth to avoid screaming when he saw the Talibani bomber approach him.

"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."

"They kept 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," he told teh AFP.

Read More: `I saw death so close`: Student recalls Pakistan school carnage

06: 50 pm: Pakistani Nobel laureate and education activist Malala Yousafzai too has issued a serious condemnation of the incident and says she is heartbroken by he horrific attack.

"I am heartbroken by this senseless and cold blooded act of terror in Peshawar that is unfolding before us. Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this. I condemn these atrocious and cowardly acts and stand united with the government and armed forces of Pakistan whose efforts so far to address this horrific event are commendable. I, along with millions of others around the world, mourn these children, my brothers and sisters - but we will never be defeated," she said.

06: 41 pm: Indian Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Tuesday condemned the Taliban for the grisly school attack in Pakistan and also appealed the suicide attackers to release the children who were held captive in a school in Peshawar.

“Let them kill me but release the kids who are still stuck there,” the ANI  quoted him as saying.

06: 23 pm: The ISPR in the latest update has informed that seven male staff members and four lady teachers have been rescued by the SSG troops.
 
06: 10 pm: Latest media reports say that most of the children massacred in the deadly Taliban assault were in the age group of 12-16.  Also, mot of them are reportedly shot in head and chest.
 
06: 00 pm: In order to discuss the situation arising after the terrorist attack, the Prime Minister has called a meeting of all the parliamentary parties in Peshawar tomorrow [ at 11:00 am.

 

05: 51 pm:  Pakistan's ISPR in its latest update had informed that Pakistan's security forces have managed to kill even the sixth Talibani suicide bomber in the last and fourth block of the school. They have also rescued two more school children and two teachers. ISPR's Asim Bajwa added that the security forces were facing hurdles in the clearance as the terrorists had planted IEDs at places.

 
 

05: 40 pm: Hours after the Taliban raided Peshawar school, turning the institution of education into a cemetry of innocent lives, the rescue operation continues to be on. PM Nawaz Sharif had said that the Army operation is in its final phase and will end soon. 

 

05: 35 pm: The latest death toll figure at over 130, Provincial information minister Mushtaq Ghani told AFP. The number of those injured has shot up to more than 250. TV visuals show injured ones being rushed to the hospitals on stretchers.

 

4: 46 pm: Sahrif added that the country was bearing the brunt of such attacks as the Army had launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb to weed out the militants from North Waziristan. "Such attacks are expected in the wake of a war and the country should not lose its strength," he says.

 

But he added the war against terrorism won't stop and the "country is cleansed from terrorism".

"We have also spoken to Afghanistan about this and we will fight terrorism together," he added.

 

 

Peshawar crisis: Pak PM Nawaz Sharif terms Pak school siege as 'National tragedy'

 

4: 44 pm: Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif is currently speaking live in Peshawar. Condemning the attack, Sharif said that the terrorists have given the proof f their cowardness by staging the school raid. He added that the death of the school children was not just a loss for their parents, it was a personal loss as they were "his children".

4: 41 pm: Pakistan's ISPR has meanwhile updated that the security forces have managed to confine the terrorists to the last of the four blocks of the Army school. He added that fifth terrorist has been killed. He also said that two more children and two staff members were rescued by SSG troops.

 

 

4: 25 pm: Meanwhile the injured continue to be taken to Combined Military Hospital and Lady Reading Hospital and an emergency has been declared in both the hospitals. Reports say there is a huge requirement of blood and people have been urged to donate blood.

4: 20 pm: Pak media reports say that there have been at least a dozen blasts inside the school in the span of last half an hour and that the security forces have now begun the final phase of assault.

4: 10 pm: Indian PM Narendra Modi has also condemned the terror act calling it a "cowardly and senseless act of unspeakable brutality" and paid condolences to the families of innocent kids who lost their lives at the hand of Taliban  today.

 

Also Read: PM Narendra Modi condemns Peshawar terror attack

 

4:00 pm: The death toll has now shot up to 126, say local media reports citing Lady Reading hospital estimate.

 

3:58 pm: Imran Khan, Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, has also condemned the attack calling it an inhuman act of barbarism. Imran also said that in the wake of school attack, he has called off his party's country-wide protest planned for December 18.

3:55 pm: In the latest input coming from the attack site, two loud explosions were heard from inside the school and ambulances were seen rushing inside after the explosion.

 

3: 54 pm: Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh has strongly condemned the attack by Taliban calling it a "dastardly & inhuman attack" that exposes the real face of terrorism.

3:52 pm: Meanwhile, PM Nawaz Sharif has reached Peshawar on an emergency visit.

3:50 pm: Pakistan's security forces have successfully cleared three blocks of the school and they are in the process of clearing the remaining part of the school, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

 

3:40 pm: Some of the terrorists have managed to flee the school by cutting the barbed fence wire around the premises, the Dawn reported citing some security sources. 

 

3:30 pm: Even though three Taliban's suicide bombers have been neutralised, remaining of the terrorists are still holed up in the attack and  they are holding an unspecified number of children hostage.

 

3:20 pm: One of the teachers said that there was an examination for higher class children going on when the terrorists opened fire. The students in other classrooms were told to duck and were gradually carried out of the school.

 

3:15 pm: Justifying the attack, a Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesperson has said that they targeted Army because "they target our families. We want them to feel our pain".

3:00 pm: PM Sharif, who is on his way to Peshawar, has called the attack "a national tragedy". The Chief Minister has announced three days mourning over this tragic incident.

2:55 pm: Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif is now headed to Peshawar to visit the site of attack. Before departing, he made a brief statement saying, "They are my children. It's my loss". "I have decided to proceed to Peshawar and I will supervise the operation my self," he added.

2: 52 pm: Khattak added that the "terrorists entered the school wearing paramilitary Frontier Corps uniform".

2:50 pm: The death toll has shot up by a huge margin and now over 100 children are confirmed dead in the deadly Taliban assault, said Pervez Khattak,  Khyber Pakhtunkhwa CM.

The 104 dead include 84 children. Also two teachers and one soldier have lost their lives, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa CM Pervez Khattak  added.

2:40 pm:World is yet to come to terms with the horrendous siege at Sydney's Lindt cafe where dozens were held hostage for 16 hours yesterday by an ISIS-inspired Iranian self styled cleric named Man Haron Monis. And the Taliban raid at Peshawar school in Pakistan, that has claimed innocent lives, comes just a day after the Sydney event, highlighting how insecure is the world we live in.  

Also Read: Peshawar school attack: It’s a black day for humanity, say celebrities

2:35 pm:The latest death toll figure has hit 26, that includes a female teacher and an Army jawan.

2:30 pm:As security forces continue the rescue operation inside the targeted Army-run school, three of the Taliban suicide bombers have been eliminated, latest reports say.

2:25 pm:Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif dialled up Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and directed his ministry to assist the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in handling the hostage crisis at Peshawar school.

KP Governor Sardar Mehtab Abbasi was also directed to ensure all possible assistance to security forces in the rescue operation.

2: 20 pm: Peshawar school attack is said to be "a revenge attack for the Army offensive against militants in North Waziristan," a TTP spokesperson told Reuters. It can be noted that Pakistan Taliban had vowed to intensify attacks in retaliation to Pakistani military's Operation Zarb-e-Azb being carried out in North Waziristan since June.

2 :10 pm:Reports coming from Lady Reading Hospital say that dead bodies are now being taken out of the hospital. Two teachers are among the dead.

2: 05 pm:Authorities are not allowing any one to cross the security cordon outside the school and all the schools on Warsak road have been evacuated and closed.

1:55 pm:There were earlier reports that talked about a dearth of beds in Lady Reading hospital which continued to receive more and more injured students and staff members. It was also reported that there were more than one children being treated on the same bed.

1:50 pm:The latest death toll coming from the emergency ward of Lady Reading hospital says that 18 have been killed including 16 children, one female teacher and an Army Jawan. Also over 40 are said to be injured.

1:45 pm:The sight outside the school is chaotic and elegiac as the air is heavy with the noise of gunfire inside and vrooming ambulances and screams of panicked parents thronging outside the school.

1:40 pm:Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and MQM chief Altaf Hussain have issued a strong condemnation of the attack.

1:37 pm:There has been a loud explosion inside the school and reports say that one of the suicide bombers has detonated himself outside the auditorium where many higher class children were present.

1:34 pm:According to the latest estimate, 12 children along with one teacher are said to be dead now. The figure may rise as hospitals continue to receive more injured children.

1:32 pm:According to a senior Khyber Pakhtunkhwa minister, a soldier too has been killed in the ongoing firefight, the Dawn news reported.

1: 30 pm:According to a school kid who was freed, the raid started just before his "fourth period was to begin",  firing was heard and saw some 6 terrorists inside the school.

1:25 pm:Speaking on a local TV news channel, the kid said that though many students were successfully taken out of the school , some elder class students were taken to an auditorium and told not to move until the rescue operation got over.

1:20 pm:Taliban claims that all the terrorists inside the school are suicide bombers and have been instructed "not to harm the children, but to target the army personnel," the terror outfit's spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani told Reuters.

1:18 pm:The number of dead children has increased to four and it is feared that the number may shoot up as some are said to be in critical condition.

1:14 pm:TV visuals showed many children coming out of the school as many parents had thronged the area. But security forces held them back.

1:12 pm:According to local Pakistan TV reports, the terrorists barged in the school by jumping the wall of a cemetry which is located in the back side of the school.

1:10 pm: Latest reports say that three children have been killed.

1:02 pm: Heavy gunfire can still be heard from inside the school as the gunbattle remains on between the security forces and the terrorists. Reports say that the number of injured children may shoot up.

1:00 pm: The responsibility for the attack has been claimed by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. According to an AFP report, the terrorists have been ordered to shoot older students at the Army-run school.

12:55 pm: Some 35 children are said to be injured and they are being rushed to the nearby hospitals.

12:50 pm: Pakistani security forces have cordoned off a huge area around the school and heavy gunfire can be heard.

12:45 pm: An Army school in Peshawar's cantonment area has been attacked by six terrorists on Tuesday morning. According to a Reuters report, the terrorists are holding some 500 students and children hostage.

 

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