Taliban Gunmen Storm School, Kill Dozens In Pakistan

 

Taliban militants stormed a school in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, leaving scores of students dead and possibly taking an unknown number hostage.

Quoting Pakistani officials, multiple media outlets put the death toll at 126, including 80 students in grades 1 through 10.

The AP reports that at least six gunmen entered the Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar shooting at random.

Quickly, police moved in and traded gunfire with the militants. The AP adds:

"Pakistani television showed soldiers surrounding the area and pushing people back. Ambulances streamed from the area to local hospitals. ...

It wasn't clear how many students and staff were still inside the facility. A student who escaped and a police official on the scene earlier said at one point about two hundred students were being held hostage."

The New York Times reports that as the standoff continues, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was headed to Peshawar. A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

The spokesman tells The New York Times that the Taliban said they were retaliating for a recent military offensive.

UPDATE:  Authorities in Pakistan Wednesday have raised the death toll from yesterday's school massacre to 148.

They say some critically wounded members of the school staff died overnight, including the school principal, who had lock locked herself in a bathroom, but couldn't escape militants, who threw a grenade through the bathroom vent.

More than 130 of those killed at the military-run school were children and a three-day mourning period began today.

Story source: NPR