Mass funerals for Pakistan school victims as government plans response to Taliban | News | DW | 17.12.2014
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Mass funerals for Pakistan school victims as government plans response to Taliban

Mass funerals and prayer vigils are being held across Pakistan for the victims of the Peshawar school attack. Condemnation of the Taliban has come from all sides.

Amid three days of national mourning, funerals and prayer vigils have been held for the 132 children and nine staff who died in Tuesday's attack by the Taliban on the army public school in Peshawar. It was the deadliest terror attack in Pakistan in living memory. The school has a thousand boys aged five to 18, many of them the sons of army officers.

The siege lasted eight hours as seven men wearing bomb vests went from room to room shooting both pupils and teachers.

The Pakistani Taliban (TTP) has been quoted as saying they had deliberately targeted older pupils at the school and not "small children." The TTP claimed the attack was revenge for the army's campaign against them.

Pakistan said it launched air strikes on militant targets in the Khyber and North Waziristan areas on Wednesday. It was unclear if this was a direct response to the school attack, or part of the ongoing military campaign, which began in June.

After meeting with political party leaders to discuss possible security strategies, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said he was ending a moratorium on the death penalty for terrorism cases which had been in place since 2008.

Pakistan's army chief, General Raheel Sharif, traveled to Afghanistan on Wednesday to seek help from the government and security forces in locating the Pakistani Taliban commanders who orchestrated Tuesday's attack. The Pakistan army said it had intelligence the Taliban leaders were hiding in Afghanistan.

There has been condemnation of the attack from all sides. India's parliament observed a minute's silence on Wednesday in honor of the victims as Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his country's "deepest condolences."

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the 17-year-old who was shot by Pakistani Taliban gunmen for championing girls' rights to education, also condemned what she called "these atrocious and cowardly acts."

jm/sb (AP, AFP)

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