At least 132 children have been killed in a massacre in a school Peshawar, Pakistan, with the toal death toll at 145. The attack was carried out by the Pakistani Taliban.
Pervez Khattak, chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the location of Peshawar, told CNN that most of those killed were between the ages of 12-16.
Six or more attackers entered the school around 11 am local time, killing many of the children and taking others hostage. The army surrounded the school and loud gunfire could be heard along with helicopter gunships overhead.
At press time, the Pakistani army announced that it has killed all six terrorists who perpetrated the attack.
The school, the Army Public School and Degree College, is run for the children of army personnel. The Tehrik-e-Taliban, known as the Pakistani Taliban, said that the attack was carried out as retribution for the deaths of the children of fighters in the Taliban.
It was reported that Taliban spokesman Mohammed Khorasani called local media outlets to give a statement. He said, "This is a reaction to the killing of our children and dumping of bodies of our mujahideen in various parts of the country. Around six suicide bombers entered the school, and we are in contact with them. We have asked them not to kill minor [the youngest] children."
Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for global education expressed his sorrow and solidarity with the families of the victims, saying, "The whole world will be shocked and heartbroken at the massacre in Peshawar that has destroyed so many innocent young lives."
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condemned the atrocity on social media.
The Guardian spoke to one teacher who was fortunate to have escaped the attack. The teacher said that, given the number of terrorist attacks in Peshawar, teachers had been trained for this eventuality.
The attack comes barely a week after a ceremony in Oslo in which Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai accepted a Nobel Peace Prize. She was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012 for her work as a blogger fighting for universal rights to education, particularly education for girls.
The attack is the latest in a spate of worldwide terrorist attacks in recent days. On Friday, a suicide bomber attacked a French run school in Kabul, the capital of adjacent Afghanistan, killing one student and injuring 20 others.
Yesterday an attack took place in Sydney, Australia, where an Islamic extremist took hostages in a café in the center of the city. Two hostages dies when police stormed the cafe 16-hours later.
The Pakistani government has declared three days of national mourning. At press time the death toll from the attack continued to rise.