A bloody Taliban raid on an army-run school in northwest Pakistan has ended, police said Tuesday, with all six attackers dead.
The assault on the school in the city of Peshawar killed at least 130 people, most of them students, according to officials.
Earlier, the health minister for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the restive northwestern province where the attack took place, said two other teachers were among the dead, according to AFP.
Sharif Khan, a doctor at the Lady Reading Hospital in the city of Peshawar, where the attack is still under way, said they had received the bodies. A senior police official confirmed the toll.
A Reuters journalist at the scene could hear heavy gunfire from inside the school as soldiers surrounded it. Ambulances were transporting wounded children to hospital.
"We were standing outside the school and firing suddenly started and there was chaos everywhere and the screams of children and teachers," said Jamshed Khan, a school bus driver.
Military officials said at least six armed men had entered the military-run Army Public School. About 500 students and teachers were believed to be inside.
"Our suicide bombers have entered the school, they have instructions not to harm the children, but to target the army personnel," Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani told Reuters.
U.S. President Barack Obama along with Secretary of State John Kerry have come out to condemn the attack, with the latter describng images from the scene as “gut-wrenching.”
Additionally, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also strongly condemned the attack.
“I condemn this heinous attack in the strongest possible terms,” he said.
“No cause can justify such brutality. No grievance can excuse such horror.”
“The hearts of the world go out to the parents and families who have lost loved ones.”
Explaining the reason behind the attack, the Taliban said it was a revenge for the Pakistani military targeting their own families, a spokesman said.
“We selected the army's school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females,” said Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani.
“We want them to feel the pain.”
Following the tragic event, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called the school massacre a “national tragedy” and said he was heading to Peshawar.