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Nine students killed as four terrorists stormed the hostel of ATI

01 December, 2017

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At least nine students were killed and 37 people injured as four terrorists stormed the hostel of Peshawar's Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) on Friday morning. The number of casualties is expected to increase as a clearance operation is underway. The attack was claimed by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.

Hayatabad Medical Complex Director Shahzad Akbar said six dead and 18 injured had been brought to the hospital. Khyber Teaching Hospital sources said they had received three bodies and 17 wounded.

Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said two soldiers were injured in the attack and shifted to Combined Military Hospital for treatment.

According to initial reports, hospital sources said that there are seven students, one Frontier Corps (FC) personnel, one police officer, a guard, and a journalist among the wounded.

The process of recovering the injured from the hostel is ongoing.ISPR confirmed that three terrorists were killed in the operation conducted by security forces.

However, police officials present at the site of the attack told reporters that four terrorists were killed. SSP Operations Sajjad Khan told Geo News that five attackers had been spotted wearing suicide jackets.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police said all terrorists have been neutralised after a "successful clearance operation" by security forces.

Suicide jackets, three grenades, two bombs and one pistol were recovered from inside the building of the Agricultural Directorate, according to a DawnNews reporter present at the site of the attack.

KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra told mediamen that the terrorists today came prepared to stage a bigger attack than they were able to execute.

He condemned the terror attack on Eid Miladun Nabi. "Who can commit such an attack on this day?" he asked. "This action is against our religion. It proves that those who do such things really are terrorists."

"At least 80 per cent terrorism has been eradicated under Operation Raddul Fasaad. They [terrorists] are attacking soft targets trying to show their presence," the KP governor said.

"The public needs to stay alert and inform the army and police of suspicious individuals," he added.

Chief Minister Peshawar Pervaiz Khattak said that although the KP police is "always alert, this incident happened suddenly".

"The police arrived and took control... Security measures have been taken keeping Eid Miladun Nabi in view. Our police was there soon after the firing started." "Right now we are facing difficult circumstances."

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan tweeted his condemnation of the terror attack.

He commended "the rapid response of the KP police and army that helped in containing [the] damage and concluding the operation".

"The reformed professional KP police force with its special rapid response unit has made a difference in dealing with acts of terrorism in a timely, holistic and coordinated manner," he added.

The attack began as three loud explosions were heard and firing broke out at the ATI hostel opposite the Agricultural Directorate early on Friday morning when at least three burqa-clad suspects entered the building.

The ATI hostel was officially closed today as the country celebrates Eid Miladun Nabi.

The attackers, who arrived at the directorate in a rickshaw, shot the guard at the gate and then proceeded to the hostel of the building, where they began firing.

According to the senior superintendent of police, police were informed that the hostel was not adequately secured and was among more vulnerable areas in the city. Security in Peshawar had been beefed up for Eid Miladun Nabi.

Police, army and FC personnel are at the site of the attack, which has been cordoned off. The area is being surveyed by military helicopters.

The attack comes a week after Additional Inspector General (AIG) Headquarters Ashraf Noor was martyred in a suicide blast in the city's Hayatabad area.

Peshawar has for decades been a victim of militancy due to its status as a front line for the ongoing war against terrorism as well as its proximity to the restless tribal areas and the Pak-Afghan border.

The number of attacks in the country has fallen around 70 per cent over the past year, due to a combination of the military offensive against Taliban bases along the Afghan border and government initiatives to tackle militancy, but attacks on security and civilian targets continue to occur.

The Pakistan Army had launched Operation Raddul Fasaad earlier this year in the aftermath of a fresh resurgence in terror attacks in the country.

The operation seeks to eliminate the "residual/latent threat of terrorism", consolidating the gains made in other military operations, and further ensuring the security of Pakistan's borders.

Hundreds of suspected terrorists have reportedly either been killed or arrested in raids carried out by security personnel since the start of the operation.

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