PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Taliban militants stormed a military-run school in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, killing at least 26 people, most of them schoolchildren, and wounding at least 42, hospital and government officials said.
Security officials said at least five gunmen entered the Army Public School on Warsak Road in Peshawar, capital of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, and took control of the main building. The Army Public School is part of a military-run system of schools across Pakistan, offering education from primary to high-school levels, and is open to children of military personnel as well as civilians.
Provincial government officials said at least 1,500 students, from preschool to high school, were present on campus when the attack occurred. Most of them have managed to flee the compound, according to the Pakistani military.
The dead included 23 students, two members of the school staff, and a soldier, Jamil Shah, a spokesman for Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital, told The Wall Street Journal. Many of those injured had life-threatening injuries. “More and more people are being brought in, so this could get worse,” said Shahram Khan Tarakai, the provincial health minister.
Army and police personnel were seen surrounding the building. Intense gunfire and an explosion were heard in footage aired live on Pakistani TV channels.
A senior military official said an operation to retake control of the school had begun. A brief statement from the Pakistani military said fighting between security personnel and the attackers was continuing.
“We have moved in, and are trying to clear the area very carefully,” a military official said.
Muhammad Khurasani, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the group had sent six suicide attackers as “revenge for the military operation in Waziristan.”