Attack on school in Pakistan leaves at least 20 dead

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Rescued students are guided away from the scene of a militant attack at Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, Pakistan, on Jan. 20. Photo by Fayaz Aziz/Reuters

Rescued students are guided away from the scene of a militant attack at Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, Pakistan, on Jan. 20. Photo by Fayaz Aziz/Reuters

Taliban gunmen burst into Bacha Khan University in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing at least 20 people and engaging in an hours-long gun battle with the military and police.

The attack was similar to one in December 2014 at an army-run school in the same region of Pakistan, which left at least 150 people dead.

The gunmen stormed the campus in the town of Charsadda, outside Peshawar, shortly after classes began. Soldiers and police rushed to the scene and traded fire with the attackers. Four attackers were killed, the army said, according to the Associated Press.

Relatives and friends surround the coffin of a student, who was killed in a militant attack at Bacha Khan University, outside a hospital in Charsadda, Pakistan, on Jan. 20. Photo by Khuram Parvez/Reuters

Relatives and friends surround the coffin of a student, who was killed in a militant attack at Bacha Khan University, outside a hospital in Charsadda, Pakistan, on Jan. 20. Photo by Khuram Parvez/Reuters

A senior Pakistani Taliban commander claimed responsibility for the attack, but a spokesman later denied involvement, Reuters reported.

Among those killed were students, guards, policemen and at least one teacher, said Bilal Ahmad Faizi, a spokesman for rescue workers. Many of those killed appeared to have been shot in the head execution style.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in a statement from Switzerland, where he was attending the World Economic Forum: “We are determined and resolved in our commitment to wipe out the menace of terrorism from our homeland. The countless sacrifices made by our countrymen will not go in vain, inshallah.”

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