16 December 2014
Prayer urged as Taliban gunmen kill children in Pakistan
Taliban gunmen have killed more than 100 people, mostly children, in north-west Pakistan today.
A rescue operation is now underway to evacuate the remaining children in the school where the attack took place, amid reports that the pupils are being held hostage.
This is the first time the Taliban have attacked a school, issuing a statement saying: "We targeted the school because the army targets our families. We want them to feel our pain."
Political commentators claim this is a retaliation against Pakistan's army, which has intensified its offensive in Taliban areas.
The chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the province where the attack is taking place, says more than 80 children were shot and 20 adults, including teachers, are also dead.
Five or six militants are reported to have entered the school at 10am local time wearing security uniforms when they then opened fire.
Manoj Raithatha, the
national co-ordinator of South Asian Forum of the Evangelical Alliance, has
said prayer is needed for Pakistan.
He said: "It's so sad to see innocent children dying. This is a challenging time for Pakistan, and it's important we do all we can to support our brothers and sisters in the country. The most important thing is prayer at this precise moment."