China has harsh words for deadly Taliban attack

Updated: 2014-12-17 12:32

By Zhang Yunbi in Beijing and Agencies in Peshawar, Pakistan(China Daily USA)

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 China has harsh words for deadly Taliban attack

Volunteers carry a student injured in the school shootout at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Tuesday. Mohammad Sajjad / Associated Press

All six attackers killed; most of 141 victims were students, officials say

China condemned "in the strongest terms" the terrorist attack on a school in Pakistan that left scores dead.

Taliban militants attacked an army-run school in Pakistan's northwest city of Peshawar on Tuesday afternoon, killing at least 141 people, many of them children, and injuring 245 others.

"We are deeply shocked and grieved by the attack and condemn it in the strongest terms," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said on the ministry's website on Tuesday night.

China extended its heartfelt condolences to the victims' families and friends and expressed its deepest sympathy to the people of Pakistan, Qin said.

Qin said China opposes terrorism in any form and will continue to firmly support the unremitting efforts by Pakistan to fight terrorism, safeguard national stability and ensure the safety of its citizens.

Police later said the assault - the worst attack to hit the country in years - had ended, with all six attackers dead.

Officials said most of the victims were students.

"The combat operation is over, and security personnel are carrying out a clearance operation," police official Abdullah Khan said.

"The bodies of six terrorists have been found in the building."

Chief army spokesman General Asim Bajwa said explosive devices planted in the school by the militants were slowing clearance efforts.

Special forces soldiers had rescued more than a dozen staff members and students, Bajwa said.

The attack, carried out by militants from the Tehreeke-Taliban, a Pakistani militant group trying to overthrow the government, resulted in dozens of wounded flooding into hospitals as parents searched for their children.

"My son was in uniform in the morning. He is in a casket now," wailed Tahir Ali as he went to a hospital to collect the body of his 14-year-old son Abdullah. "My son was my dream. My dream has been killed."

The attack began in the morning, with gunmen entering the school and shooting at random, police officer Javed Khan said.

Army commandos arrived on the scene quickly and began exchanging fire with the gunmen, he said. Students could be seen on television fleeing the area. Armored personnel carriers were deployed in the school grounds, while a Pakistani military helicopter circled the scene. Hospital officials said that at least one teacher and a paramilitary soldier were among the dead.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif rushed to Peshawar to show his support for the victims.

He said Pakistan will not be cowed by the violence, and that the military will continue an operation launched in June to rout militants in the North Waziristan tribal area.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai said she is heartbroken about the attack.

Malala said that she and millions of others throughout the world are mourning for the children who died. "Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this," said Malala, 17.

Malala survived a Taliban attempt to silence her two years ago when a gunman shot her in the head at close range to prevent her from lobbying for girls' right to education.

Taliban spokesman Mohammed Khurasani claimed responsibility for the school attack, saying that six suicide bombers had carried it out in revenge for the killings of Taliban members at the hands of Pakistani authorities.

The attack calls into question whether the militants have been crippled by the military or will be able to regroup. It appeared to be the worst attack in Pakistan since a 2008 suicide bombing in Karachi that killed 150 people.

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