PESHAWAR: Pakistani officials say the siege at an army-run school on Warsak road school is over, while authorities continued a sweep of the area.
At least 141 people, most of them children (132), died when Taliban gunmen attacked the school in the morning. The overwhelming majority of the victims were students at the school, which has children and teenagers in grades 1-10.
Condemnations poured in from across the globe including all major political leaders and notables in the country. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif also condemned the assault and rushed to Peshawar to show their support for the victims and the troops partaking in the operation to clear the school of terrorists.
Three-day mourning was also announced by the federal government.
As darkness fell on the area, officials said they had cleared the school of militants. “The operation is completed,” said Bilal Ahmad Faizi, the head of the state-run rescue organisation, speaking to reporters after leaving the school area.
END OF LIVE UPDATES
7:49pm - Shireen Mazari says 146 dead, 113 injured
Speaking to media representatives, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Shireen Mazari said that out of total 146 people killed in today’s tragic incident, nearly 140 killed are children. She said 113 people including children were injured in the attack also.
7:32pm - Obama denounces ‘odious’ school attack
President of the United States, Barack Obama has condemned the Taliban attack on Peshawar school, terming it “odious”.
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7:13pm - Army hits back with 10 airstrikes in Khyber: ISPR
According to a tweet by DG ISPR Maj-Gen Asim Bajwa, Pakistan’s military on actionable intelligence has carried out several raids including 10 airstrikes in Khyber Agency today.
6:42pm - Army chief in Peshawar, vows to hit terrorists hard
Army chief General Raheel Sharif has reached Peshawar and vowed to continue the fight against the militants until they are completely eliminated from the country.
DG Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj-Gen Asim Bajwa posted on twitter that the tragic incident has saddened that COAS, but at the same time he has said that, “our resolve has taken new height. Will continue go after inhuman beasts, their facilitators till their final elimination”.
Gen Sharif said that, “this ghastly act cowardice of killing innocents clearly indicates they (militants) are not only enemies of Pakistan but enemies of humanity”.
“They have hit at the heart of the nation, but let me reiterate they can't in any way diminish the will of this great nation,” the army chief was quoted as saying by the DG ISPR.
6:32pm - Police say attack over, all militants dead
Peshawar police said that the bloody Taliban attack on Army Public School has ended, with all six attackers dead, AFP reported.
The assault on the school in Peshawar killed 131 people, most of them students, according to officials.
6:14pm - Another child succumbs to his wounds
According to DawnNews, another injured school kid has succumbed to his wounds at Leady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, raising the death toll to 131.
5:52pm - Punjab Assembly passes condemnation resolution
The provincial assembly in Punjab has unanimously passed a resolution condemning the Taliban attack in Peshawar, expressing resolve to fight till the elimination of last terrorist.
The lawmakers also expressed solidarity with the armed forces in the resolution, saying the whole nation was standing shoulder to shoulder with Pakistan Army in the ongoing Operation Zarb-i-Azb.
5:35pm - 11 staff members rescued
11 more staff members of the Army Public School including 4 lady teachers and seven male staff have been rescued by SSG commandos, according to a tweet by DG ISPR General Asim Bajwa.
5:30pm -COAS reaches Peshawar
Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif has reached Peshawar. General Raheel Sharif cut his visit short in Quetta where he attended the passing out parade of Army soldiers.
5:20pm - Sixth terrorist killed: ISPR
The ISPR says a sixth terrorist has been killed in the the school's last block which is under clearance. Two more students and as many teachers rescued.
Terrorists have booby trapped the school premises using IEDs which is hampering the clearance process.
4:55pm - PM calls APC in Peshawar
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called for an all parties conference in Peshawar tomorrow at 11:30 AM, in light of the devastating gun and bomb attack on the army-run school.
Leaders belonging to all parliamentary parties are expected to be in Peshawar tomorrow. The meeting will be held at the Governor House in Peshawar.
Information Minister Senator Parvaiz Rasheed and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar have been tasked by the PM to contact parliamentary leaders and request them to attend the meeting.
4:50pm - US ambassador condemns attack
|A man comforts his son at Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar — Reuters|
US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson condemns the attack and issues a statement offering condolence to the families of the victims.
“The United States strongly condemns senseless and inhumane attacks on innocent students and educators, and stands in solidarity with the people of Pakistan, and all who fight the menace of terrorism,” a statement issued by the US Embassy in Islamabad says.
“Few have suffered more at the hands of terrorists and extremists than the people of Pakistan,” the statement says, adding that “that is why it remains essential for the United States and Pakistan to continue to work together to secure peace and stability in the region”.
4:40pm - 130 killed
|Army personnel shifting the school children on motorbike following the attack on Army Public School situated on Warsak Road. — INP|
Provincial information minister Mushtaq Ghani tells AFP the death toll has reached 130, with a similar number wounded. The toll was confirmed by another provincial minister.
4:13 pm - Battle against terrorists will continue: PM Nawaz
|Relatives of a student comfort each other outside Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar — Reuters|
While speaking to media representatives after his arrival in Peshawar, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says that the Pakistan Army launched the Zarb-i-Azb operation and its blowback was being felt now.
"I feel that until and unless this country is cleansed from terrorism, this war and effort will not stop, no one should be doubtful of this. We have also spoken to Afghanistan about this and we will fight terrorism together."
"Such attacks are expected in the wake of a war and the country should not lose its strength," he says.
4:10pm - Fifth terrorist killed: Military
Military spokesperson Asim Bajwa says the fifth terrorist has been killed by security forces. Meanwhile, SSG forces have rescued two more student and two more staff.
4:05pm - Journalists, politicians condemn attack
|Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister, Pervez Khattak at Lady reading Hospital to visit victims of the militant attack on Army Public School — PPI|
Read: Another black day
Meanwhile, Peshawar city is at a stand-still, Markets and shops are being shut down whereas traffic jams are being reported at several points due to security cordons.
4:00pm - PM announces three-day mourning
|Men carry an injured school girl to a hospital following an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. — AFP|
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announces a three-day countrywide mourning over the Peshawar attack.
He makes the announcement after arriving in the provincial capital city where he was given a briefing over the situation at the Army Public School.
3:57pm - Narendra Modi offers condolences
Former Indian premier Manmohan Singh also condemns the attack.
3:55pm - Only one block left: ISPR update
|A student cries on a man's shoulder, after he was rescued from the Army Public School - Reuters|
The ISPR says that of the four blocks that the militants were confined to, security forces have managed to clear three.
It is not clear how many militants have been killed or how many still remain in the building.
There are some reports that children have been taken hostage.
3:50pm - Terrorists confined: ISPR
DG ISPR Asim Bajwa on Twitter says that the terrorists have been pushed and confined to the "the last of four blocks of school".
He also says four terrorists have been killed so far."Search for remaining on, clearance underway," he says.
3:47pm - More loud blasts heard near school
|Army personnel arrive at the site of TTP attack on Army Public School situated on Warsak Road— INP|
Reporters at the scene report as many as 10 loud explosions at the school, saying that the operation underway is reaching a climax.
3:45pm - PTI calls off Dec 18 protest
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has postponed his party's countrywide protests scheduled for Dec 18, following the deadly terrorist attack on the school in Peshawar.
3:40pm - Marvi Memon condemns attack
PML-N's Marvi Memon condemns the attack and says she cannot imagine what the families and mothers of the deceased must be going through.
"The PM empathises with them and has left everything to go to Peshawar and personally oversee the incident," she adds.
She adds: "Your children have made a huge sacrifice, you are not alone and we will end terrorism together... one day Pakistan will be cleansed from this terrorism."
3:35pm - 126 killed: Radio Pakistan
State-run Radio Pakistan is reporting that 126 have been killed. It is not clear how many of the casualties include children, although an earlier figure put the death toll of students at 84.
Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader Nighat Orakzai confirms to reporters that 125 children were killed in the Peshawar attack.
3:30pm - PPP denounces attack
PPP's Qamar Zaman Qaira says Pakistan has long been a victim of terrorism and must unite to fight the scourge.
"Condemning this incident is not enough, this is a message for the world as well to see the kind of sacrifices we have to give," he says.
3:27pm - PAT postpones protest
The Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) has postponed its countrywide protests planned for tomorrow after receiving instructions from party chief Dr Tahirul Qadri.
3:25pm - India condemns attack
Home Minister Rajnath Singh says the attack exposed the “real face of terrorism”.
“I strongly condemn the terrorist attack on a school at Peshawar,” he tweets.
“This dastardly & inhuman attack exposes the real face of terrorism. My heart goes out to the families of those children who got killed by the terrorists in Peshawar.
3:20pm - Defence Minister says attack is 'barbaric'
Federal Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif denounces the Peshawar attack and says it is highly barbaric to shed the blood of innocent children.
"Terrorists wanted to spread pain and destabilise the country but they would not be allowed to succeed in their evil designs," the minister said in a statement issued by the Defence Ministry.
3:18pm - Loud blasts reported
Two loud blasts are being reported from the site, with the sound of gunfire also heard.
Journalists at the scene says ambulances are stationed about a kilometre away from the Army Public School. A number of ambulances are seen entering the cordoned off area after the loud explosions.
Security sources say bodies are present inside the school premises.
3:16pm - PM reaches Peshawar
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has reached Peshawar to oversee the operation underway against terrorists in the army-run school.
3:15pm - Three blocks cleared: ISPR
The ISPR says three blocks of the school have been cleared by security forces, and the remaining area is being cleared with an operation underway.
3:13pm - Three-day mourning declared
|The feet of a victim of a Taliban attack in a school are tied together at a local hospital in Peshawar — AP|
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister has announced three days mourning over this tragic incident.
Information Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mushtaq Ghani has said that security of all other educational institution has been enhanced.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement has also announced three-day mourning over the Peshawar attack.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah announces three days of mourning across the province in the wake of the Peshawar attack.
3:10pm - Terrorists escape
Security sources say that some of the terrorists have managed to escape from the site after cutting barbed wires around the school premises.
3:05pm - President condemns Peshawar attack
President Mamnoon Hussain has strongly condemned the terror attack in Peshawar.
The president reiterates that such cowardly attacks cannot deter the resolve and morale of the nation, adding that the operation against militants would continue till the elimination of the last terrorist.
3:00pm - Children being held hostage: army
A security official tells Reuters some children are still being held hostage by Taliban gunman. 84 children are reported dead, with scores injured.
“The chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has received information from the army officials that children are still being held hostage,” Inayatullah Khan, the provincial minister for local government says.
A hall at the site had been cleared and efforts to clear the rest of the area were underway, he adds.
Hospitals in Peshawar are reporting a shortage of 'O negative' blood. An appeal has been made for donations.
The operation has been underway for five hours.
2:55pm - Children were celebrating when attackers struck: Eyewitness
Mudassar Abbas, a physics laboratory assistant at the school, tells AFP some students were celebrating at a party when the attack began.
“I saw six or seven people walking class-to-class and opening fire on children,” he says.
2:50pm - Provincial govt has failed: ANP
Ghulam Ahmed Bilour from ANP says the provincial govt has "completely failed".
"Before aspiring to become the PM, Imran Khan needs to take care of his province."
2:41 pm - Army Chief to reach Peshawar
Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asim Bajwa says that Army Chief General Raheel Sharif has cut his visit short in Quetta and is due to reach Peshawar.
2:34 pm - Government postpones talks with PTI due to Peshawar attack
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar telephones Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) vice president Shah Mehmood Qureshi and told him that for the time being,the dialogue process is being postponed," a credible source told Dawn.
2:11 pm - PM Nawaz leaves for Peshawar
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif leaves for Peshawar to supervise the ongoing operation against Taliban, dubbing it "a national tragedy".
"I have decided to proceed to Peshawar and I will supervise the operation my self," PM Nawaz Sharif said in a short statement before his departure to Peshawar.
"These are my children and it is my loss," the premier said.
2:10pm - 104 dead in attack: KP CM
|Security forces takes up positions on a road leading to the Army Public School — Reuters|
Chief Minister KP Pervez Khattak says 84 children have been killed in the attack.
"The terrorists entered the school wearing FC personnel uniform," he says.
He puts the total death toll at 104. He says 23 bodies have been taken to the LRH, with 60 in CMH.
2:05pm - Army trying to bring situation under control: KP Information Minister
Shah Farman, the KP Minister of Information says there are approximately 80-100 unconfirmed dead.
"The army is trying hard to bring the situation under control," he says. "The operation is currently underway."
"It is unfortunate that schoolchildren were targeted.We need the country to be united and we need justice," he adds.
Shah Farman says he is not aware of the Taliban's claim of responsibility for the attack.
2:00pm - Lady Reading Hospital officials speaks to reporters
An official from the LRH hospital confirms that 26 people have been killed. He says that the security official among the dead has not yet been identified.
1:55pm - 26 killed: Security officials
Twenty-six people have been killed, including two terrorists, security sources say. Hospital sources say the dead include 20 children.
1:50pm - JI Emir condemns attack
|Security forces drive on a road leading to the Army Public School that is under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar - Reuters|
Emir of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Sirajul Haq condemns the incident and talking to DawnNews says the whole country stands with the families of the deceased.
He appeals to the government to make the security of children its first priority. "The attack is a message to the country and government; it should not be taken lightly," he says.
The official Twitter account of the JI tweeted: " Attack on innocent children in the name of religion is not acceptable."
1:45pm - Militants holed up in admin block: Minister
PTI MPA Shaukat Yousufzai says the main area of the school, including the junior section, has been cleared and that the operation has shifted to the administrative block where the terrorists are holed up.
He rejects reports that negotiations are being conducted with the attackers and says that talks are not possible when a full-blown operation is underway.
Yousufzai also says that the terrorists carried out a blast, possibly by a suicide bomber, in a portion of the school where an event was being held.
1:43pm - Terrorists have 'sophisticated weapons'
A student who was released says the attackers were carrying sophisticated automatic weapons.
He says militants opened indiscriminate fire as soon as they entered the school.
1:40pm - Terrorists did not enter through main gate: Brigadier
Responding to a question of whether the attack was a result of security lapse, Brigadier Mehmood Shah says there was a graveyard behind the school which is how militants entered the school.
He says militants could not have entered the school through its main gate.
He says security forces should be more vigilant but also underscored that people in the society should be careful and report suspicious people living in their locality to law enforcement agencies as soon as possible.
1:35pm - Unite, don't criticise: Shah Mehmood Qureshi
PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi says that while the KP government is responsible, criticism is not a solution.
"Considering the fact that there is an operation being carried out against terrorists and they are being killed, you can expect a blow back and expect them to retaliate," he tells DawnNews.
"Obviously this was expected due to the operation... our army managed to break them."
"Instead of criticising, we all have to come together and figure out how to fight against this common enemy," he says.
1:30pm - Security official killed
Jamil Shah, a spokesman for Lady Reading Hospital, confirms to AP that the killed soldier was a member of the Pakistani paramilitary forces.
1:25pm - PM directs Interior Minister Nisar to assist KP in handling crisis
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif telephones Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and directs that his ministry assist KP in handling the crisis as effectively as possible.
The premier directs Nisar to coordinate the rescue operation in Peshawar with security forces to ensure all possible help that needs to be extended to them.
Prime Minister Sharif also directs Governor KP Sardar Mehtab Abbasi to ensure all possible assistance to security forces in the rescue operation.
1:20pm - 21 killed: hospital
The focal person for the Lady Reading Hospital confirms to Dawn that 21 are dead, including one man in an army uniform. One hospital official says the dead include 17 students.
While he gave no details on the cause of death, he says 45 are injured.
1:15pm - Imran Khan calls CM KP Pervaiz Khattak
|Schoolchildren cross a road as they move away from a military run school that is under attack - Reuters|
PTI Imran Khan called Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervaiz Khattak and directed him to immediately go to the site of the attack.
He has directed Khattak to apprise him of the situation in Peshawar.
1:10pm - 18 dead: hospital
Mudassir from the emergency ward at the Lady reading Hospital tells Dawn that 18 people have been killed. A hospital source confirms that 15 children are dead, while nine are critically injured.
Lady Reading Hospital is the sole facility to provide treatment to victims of bomb blasts, traumatic incidents and tribal clashes that occur in KP, FATA, & Afghanistan.
1:07pm - 'Revenge for N Waziristan'
|A soldier takes up a position above a road near the military run school that is under attack - Reuters|
A TTP spokesman tells Reuters, “It's a revenge attack for the army offensive in North Waziristan."
1:05pm - Two teachers injured
The Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar says there are two male teachers among the 28 injured being treated.
“Many are in the operation theatre now in critical condition, undergoing treatment,” said hospital official Ejaz Khan.
The school on Peshawar's Warsak Road is part of the Army Public Schools and Colleges System, which runs 146 schools nationwide for the children of military personnel and civilians. Its students range in age from around 10 to 18.
The schools educate the children of both officers and non-commissioned soldiers and army wives often teach in them.
1:05pm - Militants struck during exam
A teacher tells Reuters that the attackers targeted the school while exams were taking place.
“After half an hour of the attack, the army came and sealed the school,” a teacher told a private television channel outside the besieged school.
“We were in the examination hall when the attack took place,” he said. “Now the army men are clearing the classes one by one.”
1:00 pm - Students 'set free'
An ISPR statement says that a large number of students and teachers have been set free. The statement added that there were reports of deaths of some teachers and students as well.
12:55pm - 'Reaction to N Waziristan operation'
PTI MPA Shaukat Ali Yousufzai arrives as the scene and says the attack appears to be a blowback from the ongoing operation 'Zarb-e-Azb' in North Waziristan agency. He says he is not being allowed to cross the security cordon.
12:55pm - Imran Khan condemns attack
The PTI official account on Twitter posted a condemnation of the attack: "Chairman Imran Khan condemns Peshawar attack, says terrorist attack on innocent kid is worst ever form of barbarism."
12:50pm - Militants wearing army fatigues
AFP reports that at least five militants were wearing military uniforms when they entered the school.
12:45pm - Five killed: hospital
Dr Zafar Iqbal from the emergency ward of the Lady Reading Hospital confirms that five people have been killed and that more than 40 are injured.
An eyewitness says bodies are strewn across the floor of the school premises.
12:40pm - Soldier killed in attack: Minister
A senior Khyber Pakhtunkhwa minister tells DawnNews that a soldier has been killed in the ongoing firefight.
Shahram Tarakai says victims have also been shifted to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH).
The number of injured has increased to 35.
12:37pm - Prime Minister condemns attack
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has issued a strong condemnation of the militant attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar.
Condemning the terrorist attack on the school, Nawaz directs all civil and military security agencies to rescue every one from the school safely.
"The perpetrators behind this terrorist attack must not be spared but first priority is the safe rescue of kids and innocent people from the school," PM Nawaz Sharif said in a short statement issued from the PM House in Islamabad.
MQM chief Altaf Hussain has also condemned the terrorist attack
12:35pm - Eyewitness account
An eye witness tells DawnNews that as soon as the firing started, teachers instructed students to duck.
"Later, army personnel ushered us out. While we were being moved out, we saw bodies of our classmates lying in the corridors."
“We were standing outside the school and firing suddenly started and there was chaos everywhere and the screams of children and teachers,” Jamshed Khan, a school bus driver told Reuters.
12:30pm - Four children killed: hospital
Lady Reading Hospital sources confirm that two more have been killed by militant firing, with 27 injured. Two students died while they were being shifted to the hospital while two others died at the hospital.
The age of the deceased is between 9-14 years.
12:28pm - TTP says militants ordered to shoot
TTP spokesman Muhammad Khorasani tells AFP there are six attackers.
“They include target killers and suicide attackers. They have been ordered to shoot the older students but not the children,” he said.
A loud explosion has been reported at the scene. The blast has been carried out by security forces to bring down a wall to create an entry point into the school, according to officials.
12:26pm - More students injured
The number of wounded increases to 30, including one teacher and six children whose condition is reported as critical. A large number of concerned parents have turned up at the site but are being held by security officials.
12:25 pm - Evacuation underway
Military officials confirm that five to six terrorists have entered a school in Peshawar's Warsak road.
The school has been cordoned off, with a rescue operation in progress. Security officials said that children and teachers are being evacuated. Nearby schools have also been closed.
12:20 pm - Two children killed: hospital
The Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) has confirmed that two students have been killed and 10 injured as a result of gunfire.
Hospital sources said one male and one female student were killed. Two of the 10 injured students are in critical condition.
12:13pm - 500 students held hostage
Reuters reports that the gunmen have taken hundreds of students and teachers hostage.
A Reuters journalist at the scene could hear heavy gunfire from inside the school as soldiers surrounded it.
Military officials said at least six armed men had entered the military-run Army Public School. About 500 students and teachers were believed to be inside.
12:11pm - TTP claims responsibility
AFP reports that Taliban militants have attacked the army-run school.
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.
12:05pm - Seven wounded in attack
According to initial reports, the terrorists opened fire on entering the building, wounding least seven people, including five children.
Police sources said that at least six terrorists entered the school after scaling its walls.
A heavy contingent of police and security forces have reached the spot and cordoned off the area as an operation continues.