At least 137 have been killed, most of them schoolchildren, in a Taliban-conducted attack Tuesday upon a school in Peshawar, Pakistan.
The six jihadists dressed in official security uniforms broke into the Army Public School and Degree College, a school run by the Pakistani military. The Taliban militants were equipped with automatic weapons and suicide vests, and began firing immediately once they breached the school’s entrance, UPI reports.
One of the students said he heard the Taliban fighters yelling “Allahu Akbar!” (God is great) as the jihadis sprayed bullets and detonated their vests.
A spokesman for the Taliban told CNN that the attack was revenge against the Pakistani Army’s recent actions in the tribal Waziristan region of Pakistan, where he said hundreds of militants were killed by the country’s armed forces.
The vacuum left behind by the full withdrawal of U.S. forces from the region has contributed to the Taliban’s aggression throughout the area. The Taliban have ramped up their terror attacks in both Afghanistan and Pakistan as of late, hoping to reclaim what they lost in 2001 when U.S. forces entered the fight.
After surveying the site, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called the jihadist attack “a national tragedy.”
U.S. President Barack Obama said that “By targeting student and teachers in this heinous attack, terrorists have once again shown their depravity.”
2014 Noble Peace Prize recepient Malala Yousafzai also issued a statement on the terror attack. She said:
I am heartbroken by this senseless and cold-blooded act of terror in Peshawar that is unfolding before us. Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this. I condemn these atrocious and cowardly acts and stand united with the government and armed forces of Pakistan whose efforts so far to address this horrific event are commendable. I, along with millions of others around the world, mourn these children, my brothers and sisters – but we will never be defeated.
The Pakistani army is reportedly still at the scene of the incident in order to look for more survivors and uncover hidden improvised explosive devices (IED).