— CNN (@CNN) January 20, 2016
WASHINGTON POST – Gunmen slipped into a college campus under cover of fog Wednesday, killing at least 20 people — shooting some execution style — in the latest terrorist attack in Pakistan targeting students in apparent revenge for expanding military crackdowns.
The attack , claimed by a Taliban faction, is likely to unite the country behind stern action against Islamist militants 13 months after a similar rampage at a nearby army-run school killed about 150 students and teachers.
Four suspected attackers also were killed in Wednesday’s bloodshed, officials said.
The assault began about 9 a.m. when at least four gunmen cut through a back fence into Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, about 30 miles from Peshawar.
“I saw two terrorists standing on the roof. . . . They were shouting Allahu Akhbar,” said Basit Khan, a student of computer sciences, referring to an Islamic cry for God is great. “After that, firing started and I and my friends started running. There were people screaming. We were terrified.”
Eyewitnesses told The Washington Post that many of the university students were shot in the head.
Ashfaq Ahmad, a security officer of the university, told the Post that the attackers snuck in through the backyard of the university and “were restricted to the boy’s hostel when security guards opened fire on them.” He said most of the victims were male students. He said a cook and an assistant professor were also among the dead.
“The attackers cut the barbed wire and jumped into the campus. Our guards engaged them and they did not reach the girl’s hostel and main administration block,” he said. He described four attackers around 20 years of age.
Shaukat Yousafzai, a local lawmaker, said preliminary information indicated at least 20 people had been killed. Yousafzai said at least 50 people had been injured, many of whom were suffering from gunshot wounds.
A Pakistani Taliban regional group — Omar Mansoor from Darra Adam Khel region — claimed responsibility for the attack. “We have sent four suicide attackers and they have killed dozens of people,” said a statement by the group, which is also believed to have been behind the Peshawar school attack.
“This is a message to the Pakistani army and civilian leadership, who have executed 130 mujahideen, our people. We will carry out more attacks to take revenge on them,” the group said.