At Least 141 Children Murdered By Taliban In Worst Hit Yet, Suspected To Be Revenge Attack For Malala's Nobel Prize

Grief etched across their faces, the women hug one another in visible grief as they are watched on by other mourners

In the deadliest slaughter of innocents in Pakistan in years, Taliban gunmen attacked a military-run school Tuesday 16th December, 2104 and killed 141 people — almost all of them students ages 10-18 — before government troops ended the siege.
The massacre of innocent children horrified a country already weary of unending terrorist attacks. Pakistan's teenage Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai — herself a survivor of a Taliban shooting — said she was "heartbroken" by the bloodshed.
Even Taliban militants in neighboring Afghanistan decried the killing spree, calling it "un-Islamic."
The rampage at the Army Public School and College began in the morning when seven militants scaled a back wall using a ladder, said Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa, a military spokesman. When they reached an auditorium where students had gathered for an event, they opened fire.

A 14-year-old, Mehran Khan, said about 400 students were in the hall when the gunmen broke through the doors and started shooting. They shot one of the teachers in the head and then set her on fire and shouted "God is great!" as she screamed, added Khan, who survived by playing dead.
The teacher is said to have been doused in petrol and set alight, her pupils forced to watch her die an awful, agonising death.
The victim was allegedly singled out because she was married to a senior army officer.

From there, they went to classrooms and other parts of the school.

"Their sole purpose, it seems, was to kill those innocent kids. That's what they did," Bajwa said. Of the 141 people slain before government troops ended the assault eight hours later, 132 were children and nine were staff members. Another 121 students and three staff members were wounded.
The seven attackers, wearing vests of explosives, all died in the eight-hour assault. It was not immediately clear if they were all killed by the soldiers or whether they blew themselves up, he said.
The wounded — some still wearing their green school blazers — flooded into hospitals as terrified parents searched for their children. By evening, funeral services were already being held for many of the victims as clerics announced the deaths over mosque loudspeakers.
The government declared three days of mourning for what appeared to be Pakistan's deadliest since a 2007 suicide bombing in the port city of Karachi killed 150 people.
"My son was in uniform in the morning. He is in a casket now," wailed one parent, Tahir Ali, as he came to the hospital to collect the body of his 14-year-old son, Abdullah. "My son was my dream. My dream has been killed."
One of the wounded students, Abdullah Jamal, said he was with a group of eighth, ninth and 10th graders who were getting first-aid instructions and training with a team of army medics when the violence became real. Panic broke out when the shooting began.
"I saw children falling down who were crying and screaming. I also fell down. I learned later that I have got a bullet," he said, speaking from his hospital bed.
Another student, Amir Mateen, said they locked the door from the inside when they heard the shooting, but gunmen blasted through anyway and opened fire.
Responding to the attack, armored personnel carriers were deployed around the school, and a military helicopter circled overhead.
An expert has claimed that the horrific events which unfolded could have been in retaliation to 17-year-old Malala winning this year's Nobel Peace Prize.
The massacre was also said to be an act of revenge against the Pakistani army, which has been attempting to suppress the Pakistani Taliban in their north Waziristan tribal homelands over the past few months.
Malala - the youngest ever person to win the award - was shot by the Pakistani Taliban in 2012 while on a school bus, as punishment for advocating education for women in Pakistan.
She has since become a worldwide symbol for the fight against oppression on women and the right to education.
Hours after the attack, Malala led the national condemnation on the 'atrocious' events, saying she was 'heartbroken' by the 'cold-blooded act of terror'.  
A little more than 1,000 students and staff were registered at the school, which is part of a network run by the military, although the surrounding area is not heavily fortified. The student body is made up of both children of military personnel as well as civilians.
Most of the students appeared to be civilians rather than children of army staff, said Javed Khan, a government official. Analysts said the militants likely targeted the school because of its military connections.
"It's a kind of a message that 'we can also kill your children,'" said Pakistani analyst Zahid Hussain.
In a statement to reporters, Taliban spokesman Mohammed Khurasani claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was retribution for the military's operation in nearby North Waziristan, the northwestern tribal region where the group's fighters largely have been based.
 Khorasani also known as Tehrik-i-Taliban - said:

'It's a gift for those who thought they have crushed us in their so called military operation in North Waziristan.

'They [the Pakistani military] were always wrong about our capabilities, We are still able to carry out major attacks. Today was just the trailer.
'Six of our Mujahideen, including three suicide bombers took part in this attack and with the grace of almighty they all executed the plan very accurately.
'We selected the army's school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females. We want them to feel the pain.'  
In its offensive, the military said it would go after all militant groups operating in the region. Security officials and civilians feared retribution by militants, but Pakistan has been relatively calm.
The attack raised the issue of whether this was the last gasp of a militant group crippled by a government offensive or whether the militants could regroup.


Over 1,000 schools have been destroyed by the Pakistan Taliban since 2010, but today's massacre isn't just the worst atrocity carried out on a school, but on any target.
In May 2010, members of the organisation stormed two mosques packed with worshippers, throwing grenades and indiscriminately opening fire. The ensuring shootout and hostage situation left 94 dead and more than 120 injured.
Up to 2,000 worshippers were thought to have been in the two mosques in Lahore, Pakistan's second city, when the two groups of at least seven gunmen and three suicide bombers struck as traditional Friday prayers ended.
In June this year, the Pakistan Taliban killed 29 people in a terrifying siege on Karachi Airport when ten gunmen dressed as Airport Security Force officials stormed Terminal One.
Armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, they triggered a gun battle that raged for 10 hours and left dozens dead and wounded.
Afterwards, the group claimed the attack was revenge for the death of its leader Shahidullah Shahid. It was believed they militants intended to destroy or hijack aircraft before they were stopped by the security personnel and commandos.
Angered at US drone strikes on its mountain retreats, in June last year a group of Taliban gunmen slaughtered 10 tourists at the base of Nanga Parbat, in an attack that sent shockwaves through the climbing community.
The gunmen were wearing uniforms used by the Gilgit Scouts, a paramilitary police force that patrols the area. They abducted two local guides to find their way to the remote base camp - one of which was killed in the shooting.
The Taliban has also attempted to enforce its opposition to women's rights to education through violence. In January last year, five female teachers were massacred when militants ambushed a van transporting them home from their jobs at a community centre.
The teachers and two health workers - one man and one woman - were killed in the conservative Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province when the militants on motorcycles opened fire with automatic weapons.
It was in this region that a Taliban gunman shot 15-year-old Malala Yousufzai in the head last October for criticizing the militants and promoting girls' education. Last week she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
However, the bloodshed in Pakistan pales in comparison to the violence perpetrated by the neighbouring Afghanistan Taliban.
Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the organisation has been held responsible for several massacres in the cities of Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif that left thousands dead.

This is really really sad and heart breaking. May the souls of these innocent children rest in peace, Amen.

Award Winning Blogger, Social Media Optimizer/Strategist & Entrepreneur.

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