Pakistan terror attack toll hits 21

LATEST: The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the gun and explosives attack. "Our four suicide attackers carried out the attack on Bacha Khan University today," Umar Mansoor, a commander in the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistani (TTP) militant group told AFP by phone from an undisclosed location.

Mansoor added that the attack was in response to a military offensive against extremist strongholds in the tribal areas.

Meanwhile, the death toll in the gun and explosives attack on the university in northwestern Pakistan has risen to 21, police told AFP, adding that security forces had ended the operation against the gunmen.

"The death toll in the terrorist attack has risen to 21," regional police chief Saeed Wazir told AFP without specifying if that included the four militants the army stated it had killed. 

He said the operation had ended and security forces were clearing the area, with most of the student victims shot dead at a hostel for boys on the Bacha Khan University campus in Charsadda.

EARLIER REPORTS

8 killed

Deputy Inspector-General Saeed Wazir said at least three students had been killed in the attack, and a spokesman for the rescue workers said eight bodies had been recovered so far.

Four of the gunmen have been killed by security forces and the army has contained the militants to two blocks inside the university, a spokesman for the army said on twitter.

Police said earlier that other attackers were believed to be at large on the second and third floors of the campus buildings, according to Reuters.

At least 5 killed

"There are five dead bodies in front of me," said emergency official Bilal Faizi, speaking from the Bacha Khan university in Charsadda. "All of them have bullet wounds," he told AFP.

Military spokesman Major-General Asim Bajwa said on Twitter that two attackers had been killed.

Officials at two hospitals in the city said a total of six injured people have been brought in from the university, four to the Lady Reading Hospital and two to a Charsadda district hospital.

"There are male and female staff members and students on the campus," Fazal Raheem Marwat, the university vice chancellor, said, adding he had been on his way to work when he was informed of the attack.

"There was no announced threat but we had already beefed up security at the university."

70% students rescued: Police

The militants, using the cover of thick, wintry fog, scaled the walls of the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, before entering buildings and opening fire on students and teachers in classrooms and hostels, police said.

Police inspector Wazir said 70 per cent of students had been rescued.

"All students have been evacuated from the hostels, but militants are still hiding in different parts of the university and some students and staff are stuck inside," he said, adding that it was unclear how many gunmen were involved.

Television footage showed soldiers entering the campus as ambulances lined up outside the main gate and anxious parents consoled each other.

Over 3,000 students and members of staff are trapped inside

Gunmen have attacked a university in northwestern Pakistan, the school's vice-chancellor told AFP Wednesday, saying that the attack was still ongoing.

According to latest reports, over 3,000 students and members of staff are trapped inside the univeristy building and multiple shots have been heard.

"Police told me that firing is continuing on the campus," Fazal Raheem Marwat, vice chancellor at the Bacha Khan university in Charsadda, roughly 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the city of Peshawar, said. "At the moment I have no details about the casualties from the attack."

"Gunmen have entered the university campus from the southern side," he said, adding that at least three people have been injured, one a university guard and two civilians.

"There are male and female staff members and students on the campus," he said, adding he had been on his way to work when he was informed of the attack.
"There was no announced threat but we had already beefed up security at the university."

Peshawar was the location of Pakistan's deadliest ever extremist attack, when Taliban gunmen stormed an army-run school in December last year and slaughtered more than 150 people, most of them children, in an hours-long siege.

The attack on the school prompted a crackdown on extremism in Pakistan, with the military increasing an offensive against militants in the tribal areas where they had previously operated with impunity.

On Tuesday, a suicide attack at a market on the city's outskirts killed 10 people as well as the bomber.

 

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