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Peshawar massacre: 'I put my tie in my mouth so I wouldn't scream'

December 16, 2014 21:25 IST
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The dastardly attack by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan on a school in Peshawar claimed many precious lives, including that of innocent students whose lives were mercilessly cut short by those claiming to be fighting the righteous war.

Here are five eyewitness accounts of the brutal siege, as reported in various media outlets:

A man comforts his son, who was injured during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, at Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar. Photograph: Reuters

Irfan Shah was sitting in his class at 10:30 am local time when he heard the sound of firing outside.

He told MailOnline: ‘It was our social studies period. Our teacher first told us that some kind of drill was going on and that we do not need to worry. It was very intense firing. Then the sound came closer. Then we heard cries. One of our friends opened the window of the class.’

He started weeping as there were several school fellows lying on the ground outside the class. ‘Everybody was in panic. Two of our class fellows ran outside class in panic. They were shot in front of us.’

Schoolchildren cross a road as they move away from a military run school that is under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar. Photograph: Khuram Parvez/Reuters

Salman, 16, how he played dead after being shot in both legs by insurgents hunting down students to kill.

"Someone screamed at us to get down and hide below the desks,' he told Agence France Press, adding that the gunmen shouted 'Allahu akbar' (God is greatest) before opening fire.

"Then one of them shouted: 'There are so many children beneath the benches, go and get them. I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches."

Salman said he felt searing pain as he was shot in both his legs just below the knee.

He decided to play dead, adding: "I folded my tie and pushed it into my mouth so that I wouldn't scream. The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again," he said.

"My body was shivering. I saw death so close and I will never forget the black boots approaching me. I felt as though it was death that was approaching me," Salman added.

A rescue worker waves to make way for an ambulance as it speeded away from a school that was attacked by Taliban gunmen . Photograph: Khuram Parvez/Reuters

Ebad, a 10th-grade student, told Radio Liberty: "We were called to an auditorium to get first-aid training by an army colonel. When we walked in, gunshots erupted and (the terrorists) entered the auditorium. They killed many students -- I saw about 40 to 50 students killed in front of me -- and they also fired at the colonel. There were bomb blasts, as well. I saw four or five (terrorists) dressed in plain black clothes."

From there, Ebad said, the militants turned their focus to other classrooms, where some 500 students were studying.

"One of my colleagues breathed his last breath in my arms," he said. "Many students were shot in the legs, the face, in the back."

A man talks on a phone, with his arm around a student, outside a military run school that is under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar. Photograph: Khuram Parvez/Reuters

Anees, a fourth-grade student, said: "Our teacher said there was a drill outside. But when we looked outside, army soldiers entered our classroom and asked us to leave."

"We ran out of the class as the teachers had ordered. A male and a female teacher were killed," a visibly shaken Anees told Radio Liberty.

A soldier escorts schoolchildren after they were rescued from the Army Public School that is under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar. Photograph: Khuram Parvez/Reuters

Amir Sohail Khan, 19, told MailOnline how he was at his college a few kilometres away from the school when he heard about the attack.

He said: ‘I heard about it around 11 at my college. Then my uncle gave me a call and asked me to reach the school to check the whereabouts of my young cousins. One is seven and other is nine. It took me more than 45 minutes to reach the spot as army closed down all the roads and streets leading to school.’

He continued: ‘I saw a few soldiers trying to encircle a young man who was wearing a similar uniform to them. When soldiers tried to approach him, there was a huge blast. The other guy was one of the terrorists. This was such a horrible scene. For a few moments, I couldn't understand what was going on. I saw his body parts flying in the air after the blast. One of the soldiers was badly injured.'

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