Eyewitnesses and security sources said a group of armed men, wearing security forces uniform, arrived in a Suzuki pick-up around 10:00am. They set their vehicle on fire before attacking the Army Public School. Students were held hostage for several hours. Soon after blast, security forces completely cordoned off the main Khyber road and other link roads leading towards school, whereas worried parents gathered outside the school.
Helicopters of Pak Army conducted an air-surveillance in the areas attacked by militants. The sources said an intense exchange of fire between attackers and security forces lasted for over seven hours. The sources said five to six militants entered the school from the graveyard side, adjacent to the school. “Around 19 blasts occurred inside the school,” the eye-witnesses said. A wave of gloom pervaded Peshawar city after the attack on Army Public School as markets and shops were being shut down while traffic jams were being witnessed at several points due to security cordons.
Personnel of Pak Army rescued a number of students, teachers and other staff members, from the back-gate of the school. Workers of Rescue-1122, Edhi and Al-Khidmat Foundation also took part in a rescue operation and shifted the dead and the injured to nearby hospitals. The spokesman for Lady Reading Hospital told reporters that they received 26 bodies, including 23 students and a schoolteacher while 106 bodies, mostly students, shifted to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Peshawar. He said death toll could soar as the number of injured was rising.
US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson condemned 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.
SOURCE: RECORDER REPORT