Suspected Taliban militants attacked an army-run school in restive northwest Pakistan on Tuesday. (TV grab)
Suspected Taliban militants attacked an army-run school in restive northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, officials said, with at least 20 killed.
Agencies reported that at least 35 more students were injured and that hundreds of students were being held hostage.
A spokesman for a faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan said the gunmen had been ordered to shoot older students at the school in the city of Peshawar.
TTP spokesman Muhammad Khorasani told AFP there were six attackers. “They include target killers and suicide attackers. They have been ordered to shoot the older students but not the children,” he said.
As many as five or six gunmen entered the Army Public School and a gun battle is on to flush them out, said reports.
A Reuters journalist at the scene could hear heavy gunfire from inside the school as soldiers surrounded it. Ambulances were transporting wounded children to hospital.
“We were standing outside the school and firing suddenly started and there was chaos everywhere and the screams of children and teachers,” said Jamshed Khan, a school bus driver.
Witnesses told Duniya TV channel that the gunmen were dressed in army fatigues. A boy dressed in a school uniform told the same channel that he saw his friends lying on the ground. Another boy said his teachers rushed him and his friends out of the school after hearing gunshots.
TV channels showed a Pakistan army helicopter hovering over the school as an armoured vehicle stood outside with armed soldiers roamed outside.
The attack comes as the Pakistani military wages a major offensive against Taliban and other militants in the tribal area of North Waziristan