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People's Daily Online

Pakistani Taliban group claims university attack in NW Pakistan

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 20:00, January 20, 2016

ISLAMABAD, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- A splinter group of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan(TTP) on Wednesday claimed responsibility for the attack on a university in the country's northwest district of Charsadda, which has reportedly killed 19 people and wounded over 50 others.

Local Urdu TV channel Waqt News quoted Umar Mansoor, a commander of the Geedar group of TTP, as saying that they had sent four men for the attack.

Mansoor said the attack was carried out in response to the Pakistani army's ongoing operations against militants in the country's northwest tribal areas.

However, Muhammad Khorasani, the spokesman of TTP, denied any involvement in the attack. He told local media Express Tribune in an email that 'The TTP and its leader Maulana Fazalullah have nothing to do with the attack.'

'We consider these youth studying in non-military educational institutes as our future, they are Muslims and their protection is our responsibility,' he said, adding that 'Those people who used the name of the Taliban in the attack will be tried in sharia courts.'

Pakistani army spokesman Asim Saleem Bajwa confirmed on his twitter account that four attackers had been killed in the operation launched by the security forces following the attack.

Local media reported that the university attacked had been cleared and the search operation for other possible attackers hiding in the nearby areas had also been completed.

Army Chief General Raheel Sharif paid a visit to the attacked university after the conclusion of the operation.

The attack took place on Wednesday morning when a ceremony was being held to observe the anniversary of the late Bacha Khan, a famous political leader of the country, of whom the university is named after, according to Fazal Raheem, the vice chancellor of the Bacha Khan University.

Large contingent of security forces, including army, police and paramilitary forces Frontier Corps, were dispatched to the university shortly after the attack was reported.

Three army helicopters were also deployed to monitor the operation, said army sources.

Fierce firing and at least 10 blasts were heard in the campus following the attack, said eyewitnesses.

Medical Superintendent of District Headquarters Hospital in Charsadda, said the hospital had received 19 bodies of the attack victims.

Shah Farman, minister for public health engineering of the country's northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, where Charsadda district falls under its jurisdiction, confirmed that over 50 others were injured in the attack.

The vice chancellor of the university said the killed include one professor from the chemistry department of the university, two female students, four security guards and one policeman.

All the attack victims have been shifted to District Headquarters Hospital in Charsadda as some of the seriously wounded people have been referred to the hospital in the neighbouring city of Peshawar, capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Many victims received head and chest bullet wounds, said hospital sources, adding some of the injured remained in critical condition and the death toll might further rise.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the attack and was closely following the development of the incident while on a foreign tour, said the PM Office in a statement.

All the educational institutions in Charsadda have been closed until the end of the month in the wake of the attack. A three-day mourning over the attack victims has been announced by the the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modiand the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan have also condemned the attack.

Wednesday's attack reminded people of a brutal attack launched by Taliban militants on an army-run public school in Peshawar on Dec. 16, 2014, which killed 150 people including 140 school children and 10 staff members.the end of the month in the wake of the attack. A three-day mourning over the attack victims has been announced by the the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modiand the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan have also condemned the attack.

Wednesday's attack reminded people of a brutal attack launched by Taliban militants on an army-run public school in Peshawar on Dec. 16, 2014, which killed 150 people including 140 school children and 10 staff members.



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