Over 25 killed, 50 injured as militants storm varsity — Pakistan University attack

A university in the northwest of Pakistan has come under attack by armed militants, and at least 21 people have been killed, with further casualties feared, Deputy Inspector-General Saeed Wazeer told CNN.

Police said earlier that other attackers were believed to be at large on the second and third floors of the campus buildings.

The gunmen opened fire at the students and faculty members who gathered in a school on the campus for a poetry recital to commemorate the anniversary of the activist-leader after whom the school is named.

A spokesman of the militant group said it was revenge for those killed by security forces since Peshawar school attack.

Mansoor was the mastermind mind the December 2014 attack on an army-run school that killed over 150 people, 144 of them children.

Speaking by telephone from an undisclosed location, he said it was in response to a military offensive against extremists in the tribal areas.

He said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police, soldiers and special forces launched a ground and air operation at the university in a bid to shut down the assault.

However, a spokesman for the main Taliban faction in Pakistan later disowned the group behind Wednesday's attack, describing the assault as "un-Islamic". Ambulances were at the scene and the wounded were taken to hospital.

"All students have been evacuated from the hostels, but militants are still hiding in different parts of the university and some students and staff are stuck inside", he said before the firing had stopped, adding that it was unclear how many gunmen were involved.

The police are being heavily criticized for responding an hour too late and, instead, the army had to be rushed to the spot. The student said dozens of students were still asleep in their rooms because they didn't have class.

More than 3,000 people were reported to be on the campus, which lies about 100km north-west of Islamabad.

Just days ago, some schools in Peshawar were closed by the authorities amid reports that militants were planning an attack.

After the attack, Pakistani army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif visited the university and the wounded in hospital.

"Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is deeply grieved over the sad incident of terrorists' attack on Bacha Khan University, Charsada, which has reportedly resulted into the loss of precious human lives and injured many others", a statement from the Prime Minister's office read.

The reason for the conflicting claims was not immediately clear.

There have been conflicting estimates of the number killed, ranging from 19 and 31 victims.

Another told TV reporters: "We saw three terrorists shouting, 'Allah is great!' and rushing towards the stairs of our department".

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