New Delhi: India strongly condemned the suicide attack by the Tehreek-e-Taliban on an army-run school in Pakistan’s Peshawar on Tuesday, which brutally killed over 130 innocent children and left over 80 wounded.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Strongly condemn the cowardly terrorist attack at a school in Peshawar.”
It is a senseless act of unspeakable brutality that has claimed lives of the most innocent of human beings - young children in their school.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 16, 2014
My heart goes out to everyone who lost their loved ones today. We share their pain & offer our deepest condolences.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 16, 2014
The health minister for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the restive northwestern province where the attack took place, said two teachers were also among the dead.
Live: Pakistan Taliban storms Army-run school in Peshawar, kill over 100 innocent children
The militants were ordered to shoot older students, a Taliban spokesman said, adding the attack was revenge for a major military offensive.
At least five insurgents wearing military uniforms entered the Army Public School in the city of Peshawar, a source at the school told AFP.
Pakistan media reported that most of the students killed are aged between 6 to 16 years.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh wrote, “This dastardly and inhuman attack exposes the real face of terrorism.”
I strongly condemn the terrorist attack on a school at Peshwar(Pakistan). This dastardly & inhuman attack exposes the real face of terrorism— Rajnath Singh (@BJPRajnathSingh) December 16, 2014
Singh paid condolences to the families of children, who are killed in the suicide attack.
My heart goes out to the families of those children who got killed by the terrorists in Peshwar. I express my condolences to those families— Rajnath Singh (@BJPRajnathSingh) December 16, 2014
A senior military official said troops had surrounded the school and television footage showed them taking up positions.
Sharif Khan, a doctor at Peshawar's Lady Reading Hospital, told AFP they had received 35 wounded, two of them teachers, as well as the bodies of three students.
A senior police official confirmed the death toll and warned it was likely to rise, saying a "huge blast" had occurred inside the school.
Peshawar school terror attack: Latest developments
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, “Schools are supposed to be places of sanctuary and today these Godless animals have converted one in to a killing field.”
What terrible, heart breaking images of the attack in #Peshawar. Inhuman & barbaric don't even begin to describe the perpetrators.— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) December 16, 2014
Schools are supposed to be places of sanctuary & today these Godless animals have converted one in to a killing field #PeshawarAttack— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) December 16, 2014
The official spokesperson of the India’s External Affairs ministry, Syed Akbaruddin, also denounced the attack.
Our hearts go out to the grief stricken families of the innocent children killed & injured in this barbaric attack in Peshawar.— Syed Akbaruddin (@MEAIndia) December 16, 2014
Following Sydney and Peshawar terror attacks, CISF beefed up security at Indian airports and metro rail stations as a precautionary measure.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was retaliation for the army's continuing operation against militants in the North Waziristan tribal area close to Peshawar.
A senior military official told AFP that troops had cordoned off the area around the school and were hunting down the militants.
According to reports, all 6 militants have been killed.
Read: Bollywood celebrities condemns militant attack on school in Peshawar
The school on Peshawar's Warsak Road is part of the Army Public Schools and Colleges System, which runs 146 schools nationwide for the children of military personnel and civilians. Its students range in age from around 10 to 18.
The schools educate the children of both officers and non-commissioned soldiers and army wives often teach in them.
We have been saying it for many years that once you create a monster you cant control it: Shashi Tharoor on Peshawar terror attack— ANI (@ANI_news) December 16, 2014
A security official told AFP that hundreds of students and staff were in the school when the attack began, though it was not immediately clear how many are still being held.
TTP spokesman Muhammad Khorasani told AFP there were six attackers. "They include target killers and suicide attackers. They have been ordered to shoot the older students but not the children," he said.
"This attack is a response to Zarb-e-Azab and the killing of Taliban fighters and harassing their families." Zarb-e-Azb is the official name for the army's offensive against strongholds of the Taliban and other militants in North Waziristan.
Read: Who is Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan?
The offensive has killed more than 1,600 militants, according to an AFP tally. The military has hailed the operation as a major success in disrupting Taliban militancy.
The semi-autonomous tribal areas that border Afghanistan have for years been a hideout for Islamist militants of all stripes - including Al Qaeda and the homegrown TTP as well as foreign fighters such as Uzbeks and Uighurs.
Washington pressed Islamabad for years to wipe out the sanctuaries in North Waziristan, which militants have used to launch attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Watch: Eyewitness of Peshawar school attack