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Peshawar attack: Taliban release images of gunmen who killed 132 children as they claim massacre was justified

Taliban gunmen who stormed a school in Pakistan killing 148 people including 132 children have been identified by the militant group.

Pictures were released by the Pakistani Taliban as they issued a statement claiming the attack was justified because the Pakistani army had long been killing innocent children and families of their fighters.

On Tuesday morning in the city of Peshawar seven Taliban gunmen, explosives strapped to their bodies, scaled a back wall to get into the Army Public School and College.

Students were gunned down and some of the female teachers were burned alive.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Mohammad Khurasani vowed more attacks as he warned civilians to detach themselves from all military institutions.

In the photo more than six men carrying guns are pictured in front of a white banner.

It was reported by AP that in one photo the militants are standing with a local Taliban leader.

The statement claimed the picture was taken in one of the Pakistani tribal regions.

They came as the devastation left behind following the eight-hour siege started to emerge.

As journalists were allowed in the building images showed the floor covered in blood, walls riddled with bullets and burnt out offices.

Funerals

Mass funerals are under way for 142 people, most of them children, killed in the massacre by the Taliban at a military-run school in Pakistan.

Prayer vigils were held across the nation, and in other schools students spoke of their shock at the carnage in the city of Peshawar.

The attack was the deadliest slaughter of innocents in the country and horrified a nation already weary of unending terrorist assaults.

Army commandos fought the Taliban in a day-long battle until the school was cleared and all the attackers dead.

The government has declared a three-day mourning period, starting today.

Overnight, the body of the school head, Tahira Qazi, was found among the debris from the rampage. Her death raised the earlier reported death toll of 141.

Some of the funerals were held overnight, but most of the 132 children and 10 staff members killed in the attack will be buried today. Another 121 students and three staff members were wounded.

"They finished in minutes what I had lived my whole life for, my son," said laborer Akhtar Hussain, tears streaming down his face as he buried his 14-year-old, Fahad.

He said he had worked for years in Dubai to earn a livelihood for his children.

"That innocent one is now gone in the grave, and I can't wait to join him, I can't live any more," he wailed, banging his fists against his head.

The Taliban said the attack was revenge for a military offensive against their safe havens in the north west, along the border with Afghanistan, which began in June.

Analysts said the school siege showed that even diminished, the militant group could still inflict horrific carnage.

The attack drew swift condemnation from around the world. President Barack Obama said the "terrorists have once again showed their depravity".

Pakistan's teenage Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai - herself a survivor of a Taliban shooting - said she was "heartbroken" by the bloodshed.

Even Taliban militants in neighbouring Afghanistan decried the killing spree, calling it "un-Islamic".

Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to step up the campaign that - along with US drone strikes - has targeted the militants.

"We will take account of each and every drop of our children's blood," said Mr Sharif, who rushed to Peshawar shortly after the attack to offer support for the victims.

In neighbouring India, which has long accused Pakistan of supporting anti-India guerrillas, schools observed two minutes of silence for the Peshawar victims at the urging of prime minister Narendra Modi, who called the attack "a senseless act of unspeakable brutality".

Source Independent

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