Peshawar school attack: Children's eyewitness accounts of the Taliban massacre

Militants went from classroom to classroom firing 'indiscriminately'

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The Independent Online

The Pakistan city of Peshawar is today mourning the 132 school children who died in the Taliban’s deadliest attack on the country.

Nine teachers were also killed when seven Taliban attackers wearing bomb vests went from classroom to classroom, shooting “indiscriminately” during the eight-hour siege.

Those who survived have described the moments militants broke into the school and launched their attack, and how they escaped the bloodshed.

Ten-year-old Irfan Shah was opening his books to start his social studies class. The next thing he remembers is hearing firing outside. “The sound came closer. Then we heard cries. One of our friends opened the window. He started crying as there were several schoolfellows lying on the ground outside the class. Two of our class fellows ran outside in panic. They were shot in front of us.”

Pakistani volunteers carry a student injured in the shootout at a school under attack by Taliban gunmen, at a local hospital in Peshawar

Shahrukh Khan, 16, was shot in both legs during the attack. He only managed to survive by hiding under a desk. "I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches. I folded my tie and pushed it into my mouth so that I wouldn’t scream. The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again.

“When I crawled to the next room, it was horrible. I saw the dead body of our office assistant on fire. She was sitting on the chair with blood dripping from her body as she burned.”

A student named only as Kashan recalled being sat in the hall during a lecture. He told The Pakistan Express Tribune: “We heard firing from the back.”

“The sound of the firing kept moving closer when suddenly the door behind us was kicked down and two people started firing indiscriminately.”

Abdullah Jamal, was shot in the leg during a first-aid class. "I saw children falling down who were crying and screaming," he told The Associated Press. "I also fell down. I learned later that I have got a bullet. All the children had bullet wounds. All the children were bleeding."

A list of the dead claiming to be from the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar

Khalid Khan, 13, was in a first aid lesson in the school’s main hall when two clean-shaven armed men wearing white clothes and black jackets entered the room. “They opened fire at the students and then went out,” he recalled.

“The army doctor and soldiers managed to escape and we locked the doors from inside.

“But very soon they came, broke the doors and entered and again started firing.”

A school boy who was injured in a Taliban attack receives medical treatment at a hospital in Peshawar

One nine-year-old boy, who asked not to be named because he was too afraid to be identified, said teachers shepherded his class out through a back door as soon as the shooting began.

"The teacher asked us to recite from the Koran quietly," he said. "When we came out from the back door there was a crowd of parents who were crying. When I saw my father he was also crying."

A Pakistani girl, who was injured in a Taliban attack in a school, is rushed to a hospital in Peshawar

One unnamed student told Pakistan's Geo News the militants were shooting at anyone who moved. "We ducked under the tables and chairs, but they shot at our heads and legs.

"They kept firing and coming further inside the room, but we did not move because they shot at anyone who moved.

"We continued to hide under the tables and chairs."

Another student said militants broke into the hall and killed their teacher. He told NDTV: "As soon as we entered the hall, firing started behind us in the hall. Our teacher said close the doors. We closed the doors and suddenly they entered, breaking the doors.

"As soon as we hid under tables, they fired bullets at our legs and our heads and then they burned our madam. They burned our madam. The firing continued but we didn't move because whoever moved got shot at."