Security forces fought back the five burqa-clad terrorists who had stormed the building, opened fire

PESHAWAR (Dunya News) – In a joint operation, security forces have killed all the terrorists, who opened fire at the Agriculture Directorate located in front of Peshawar University on early Friday.

At least nine were killed with 38 injured as five burqa-clad terrorists stormed the building and resorted to intermittent firing. The area was cleared by the security force after the operation while those injured are undergoing medical treatment.

Security forces rush to the scene of the attack. --- AP

According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), five burqa-clad terrorists stormed the building and resorted to intermittent firing. At least nine people have been killed and 38 including two policemen and one journalist sustained injuries who were then shifted to Khyber Teaching Hospital.

The gunmen arrived at the campus in an auto-rickshaw, disguised in the burqas worn by many women in the region, Peshawar police chief Tahir Khan said.

     The rickshaw used by the terrorists to reach the Directorate. --- Dunya News screengrab

They shot and wounded a guard before entering the campus, he said.

A wounded student, Ahteshan ul-Haq, told Reuters the university hostel usually houses nearly 400 students, but most had gone home for a long holiday weekend and only about 120 students remained.

     A girls cries at the scene of the incident. --- AP

“We were sleeping when we heard gunshots. I got up and within seconds everybody was running and shouting ‘the Taliban have attacked’,” he said.

Noor Wali, a 19-year-old student at the institute, described a terrifying ordeal that began when he was woken by gunshots. "I rushed to the door and saw a fountain of blood pumping out of the shoulder of my roommate who was standing outside the room," he told AFP.

Rescue workers transport an injured person to the hospital after gunmen attacked the Directorate of Agriculture Institute in Peshawar. --- REUTERS

He and another student rushed to his aid, and hid from the gunmen for almost an hour before they were rescued by security forces. "The other student was pressing the wound with his hands to stop the blood and I had to put my hand on his mouth so that he cannot scream," he said.

"We took shelter inside the bedroom and were begging the injured student not to make any sound as the terrorists might hear it and kill us."

Shehzad Akbar, medical director of Hayatabad Medical Complex, said six people died of their wounds and 18 were being treated. Another three people died at Khyber Teaching Hospital and 17 wounded were there, director Nekdad Afridi said.

Operation against the terrorists

Getting information about the incident, heavy contingent of police, Army and Frontier Corps immediately arrived at the scene and cordoned off the entire area.

Security forces take position outside Agriculture Directorate in Peshawar. --- AFP

An operation between forces and the suspects, under the supervision of Peshawar Capital City Police Officer Tahir Khan, was launched. Aerial surveillance of the operation was also carried out whereas armoured vehicles of security forces were also present in the Directorate.

The security forces said all terrorists were neutralised after a 2-hour long successful operation. A clearance operation was held afterwards in which suicide jackets and explosive material was defused.

Treatment of injured

According to the recent update, 36 injured are under medical treatment in different hospitals in Peshawar after the dreadful terrorist attack. Amongst the injured include students and security officers. Provincial minister Shahram Tarakai told that terrorists have attempted at sabotaging the peace of the province. He paid a tribute to the security officials.

The injured people were admitted to Khyber Teaching Hopistal, Hayatabad Medical Centre and CMH. Emergency was enforced in all hospitals of Peshawar amidst the attack and operation.

Suicide jackets and explosive material recovered from the site. --- Dunya News screengrab

The area where the incident occurred is a hub for educational institutions in the city including the university of Peshawar. An interior ministry official told AFP that cellular networks have been suspended in various cities across the country for security reasons.

The incident comes amid tight security across Pakistan as it celebrates the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

KP IG media talk

Talking to media, Inspector General of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Salahuddin Mehsud confirmed the attack and said that the terrorists will be dealt sternly. He said that he is monitoring the operation and that they are trying hard to safe lives of maximum students.

All of them were wearing suicide vests but they were killed before they could blow themselves up," said Salahuddin Khan Mehsud, police chief of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The police chief said six students, a security guard and two civilians were killed in the attack.

Bacha Khan University attack

On January 20, 2016, around four terrorists entered Bacha Khan University in Charsadda district, roughly 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the city of Peshawar and killed 21 people and injured dozens.

Regional police chief Saeed Wazir told that most of the student victims shot dead at a hostel for boys on the Bacha Khan University campus.

Police, soldiers and special forces had launched a ground and air operation at the university in a bid to shut down the assault claimed by a Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) faction and killed all four attackers.

Security forces said the young attackers had hidden in fields surrounding the Bacha Khan university in the northwestern town of Charsadda, taking advantage of fog that severely restricted visibility to enter the premises unnoticed.

Attack on Army Public School

Over 150 people, most of them schoolchildren, were martyred on December 16, 2014 when Taliban gunmen stormed the school building in Peshawar.

The seven attackers, wearing explosive vests, all died in the eight-hour long encounter.

The federal government announced three days of mourning for what appeared to be Pakistan’s deadliest encounter with banned outfit since a 2007 suicide bombing in the port city of Karachi that killed 150 people.

Taliban spokesman Mohammed Khurasani claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was retribution for the military’s operation in nearby North Waziristan, the northwestern tribal region where the group’s fighters largely have been based.

--- with inputs from Reuters and AFP.