Peshawar school massacre: What we know

  • Published

Scores of people, many of them children, were killed in an attack on an army-run school in Peshawar, in north-west Pakistan.

Taliban gunmen scaled the walls of the school's compound on Tuesday morning before going on a shooting spree, killing 141 children and staff, in one of the worst assaults in the country's recent history.

The attack

  • 1. At about 10:00 on Tuesday local time (05:00 GMT), seven militants were seen scaling the walls of the Army Public School in Peshawar. The gunmen, all wearing explosive vests, are believed to have snapped the barbed wire at these points and then used a ladder to enter the compound.
  • 2. The first shots were heard from in front of the school's main hall, which houses the auditorium. The militants then burst into the building where a military team was conducting first-aid training for students between the ages of 14 and 16. Around 100 children were reportedly killed in the auditorium.
  • 3. Pupils told how the gunmen then went from classroom to classroom, shooting children. According to witnesses, principal Tahira Qazi helped a number of children escape before she was killed when her office was hit by a suicide bomber.
Media caption,

The BBC was one of the first broadcasters to see inside the school

Army commandos quickly arrived at the scene and gunfire and explosions were heard as security forces hunted down the militants.

Commandos undertook what were described as "search and clearance operations", moving block by block across the school while trying to avoid explosives planted by militants.

The Pakistan military declared the operation over after eight hours, saying all seven militants had been killed.

Major General Asim Bajwa said the militants had a stock of weapons and food, which indicated they had plans to maintain siege for some time.

Officials added that it was not immediately clear whether the militants were killed by Pakistani soldiers or whether they blew themselves up.

Image caption,
Images taken by a BBC team inside a classroom show the level of destruction

The school

Image source, Getty Images

The Army Public School - part of a network of 146 army public schools and colleges across Pakistan - is at the edge of a military cantonment in Peshawar.

Many of the school's students - more than 1,000 boys and girls - are the children of military personnel, but some come from civilian families. Its students range in age from around 10 to 18.

The Army Public School & College (Boys) Facebook page states the college is "designed to produce executives and policy makers for the country".

Peshawar school massacre


children and staff killed


militants involved

  • 9 hours time from start of attack until building secured by army

  • 1,099 students registered at targeted school

  • 32 attacks in Pakistan carried out by the Pakistan Taliban (TTP) or Taliban in November


The city of Peshawar, close to the Afghan border, has seen some of the worst of the violence during the Taliban insurgency in recent years.

The BBC tracked fatal global jihadist attacks across the month of November 2014 and a total of 13 were carried out in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in which Peshawar is located.

Of all the 35 attacks in Pakistan in November, 32 were carried out by the Pakistan Taliban (TTP) or Taliban. They killed 143 people.