19 killed, over 50 injured in Pakistan attack

135027911_14532788026781nISLAMABAD, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) — At least 19 people were killed and over 50 others injured when an unknown number of gunmen stormed a university in Pakistan’s northwestern district of Charsadda on Wednesday morning, said hospital sources and officials.

Medical Superintendent of District Headquarters Hospital in Charsadda, whose name is not mentioned, told media that at least 19 bodies of the attack victims were brought to the hospital.

Shah Farman, Minister for Public Health Engineering of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, where Charsadda district falls under its jurisdiction, confirmed that over 50 others were injured in the attack.

Fazal Raheem, Vice Chancellor of Bacha Khan University which came under the attack, said the killed include one professor, two female students, four security guards and one policeman.

The killed professor was with the chemistry department of the university, said Raheem.

At least four gunmen were killed in the operation following the attack, said the army spokesman Asim Saleem Bajwa on his twitter account.

The search operation for the other remaining gunmen is still underway, he added.

The exact number of gunmen involved in the attack is still not clear.

All the students and staff members of the university have been safely evacuated, local media quoted operation officers as saying.

So far there is no report about any hostage held by the attackers.

The attack took place on Wedneday morning when a ceremony was being held to observe the anniversary of the late Bacha Khan, a famous political leader of the country, of whom the university is named after, said Fazal Raheem, the vice chancellor of the university.

Local media reported that the attackers armed with suicide jackets sneaked into the campus from the backside of the university.

Large contingent of security forces, including army, police and paramilitary forces Frontier Corps, were dispatched to the university shortly after the attack was reported.

Three army helicopters were also employed to monitor the operation, said army sources.

Fierce firing and at least 10 blasts were heard in the campus following the attack, said eyewitnesses.

All the attack victims have been shifted to District Heardquarters Hospital in Charsadda where some of the seriously wounded people have been referred to the hospital in the neighbouring city of Peshawar, capital of Pakistan’s northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Many victims received head and chest bullet wounds, said hospital sources, adding some of the injured remained in critical condition and the death toll might further rise.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the attack and was closely following the development of the incident while on a foreign tour, the PM Office said in a statement.

Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.