The Taliban are taking responsibility for a cowardly attack on a Pakistani school that left more than 140 people dead, with the bulk of the casualties being school children.
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Taliban militants laid siege to a Pakistan school in a brazen hours-long attack on Tuesday, killing more than 130 children in an atrocity condemned by the White House as “heinous” and “horrific.”
More than eight hours after uniformed militants struck the school, the Pakistani military said the assault was finally over. Shortly thereafter, another loud explosion was heard in the city. It was not immediately clear where the explosion originated or what it was caused by.
Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa, a military spokesman, told NBC News that at least 132 children were killed in the attack, along with 10 staff from the school — including the principal. Seven militants were killed and seven special forces soldiers were injured.
“They didn’t take any hostages initially and started firing in the hall,” Bajwa also told a press conference. He told NBC that they had enough ammunition and rations to have kept up the siege for days.
At a hospital near the school, blood stained the floors. Crying relatives roamed the wards and searched operating rooms, desperately searching for their sons and daughters.
The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack, which Pakistani officials said appeared to be aimed at the children of senior military personnel.
Uniformed militants struck shortly before 11 a.m. local time (1 a.m. ET) when about 1,000 students — in grades one through 10 — and teachers were believed to be inside.
“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.
Military officials are also reporting six Taliban militants were killed at the scene. A palsy number in comparison to the amount dead at the school scene, but a win regardless in the never-ending war against terror.
Flip through the gallery below to see pictures of one of Pakistan’s most bloody attacks in their history. Viewer discretion is advised; a lot of the images are graphic.