Scores Killed in Bloody Taliban Attack on Pakistani School

Scores Killed in Bloody Taliban Attack on Pakistani School

Update, 9:27 am ET: A Pakistani army operation to rescue students has come to a close. Military forces have cleared the school and killed nine Taliban gunmen, a military source tells Reuters.

Original story: At least 132 students and nine staff members were killed on Tuesday when Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, Reuters reports. The militant group took hundreds of students at the Army Public School hostage.

Provincial information minister Mushtaq Ghani told the Associated Press that most of the dead in Tuesday's attack were children attending the school. 

This is one of the bloodiest insurgent attacks to strike Pakistan in years. A military source told NBC News that "there were at least 10 attackers wearing police uniforms and suicide vests." 

"They burnt a teacher in front of the students in a classroom," he added. "They literally set the teacher on fire with gasoline and made the kids watch."

"As soon as the firing started, we ran to our classrooms," Mussadir Awan, a lab assistant at the school, told the BBC: "A party was being held for classes nine and 10, and so a small number of children were there. On the upper floor, exams were being held for classes 11 and 12. ... I saw the attackers. There were six or seven men. They were entering every class and they were beating the children."

The Taliban movement immediately claimed responsibility. "We selected the army's school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females," Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani said in a statement released to the press. "We want them to feel the pain."

The school currently remains sealed off and the number of hostages inside is unconfirmed. The Pakistani army told reporters on Tuesday that the "bulk" of its 500 pupils had been evacuated. 

Pakistani officials said that they have killed at least six Taliban militants, but rescue efforts are currently hampered by improvised explosive devices littered throughout the school.

U.S. Ambassador Richard Olson extended his condolences to the families of victims and condemned the attack in a statement

"On behalf of the American people, U.S. Ambassador Richard Olson extends the deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims of Tuesday's heinous attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar," said Olson. "The United States strongly condemns senseless and inhumane attacks on innocent students and educators and stands in solidarity with the people of Pakistan and all who fight the menace of terrorism."

"Few have suffered more at the hands of terrorists and extremists than the people of Pakistan," he added. "That is why it remains essential for the United States and Pakistan to continue to work together to secure peace and stability in the region."

Malala Yousafzai, the education advocate and Nobel Prize laureate who was shot in the head by the Taliban on her way home from school in Pakistan's Swat Valley in 2012, had only this to say: 

This is a developing story. Check back and follow @World_Mic on Twitter for the latest updates.