PESHAWAR, Pakistan - Taliban militants stormed a provincial government agricultural research complex in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Friday, killing 12 people including students and wounding 35 others, police said.
Police and soldiers killed three attackers during a firefight and while clearing the complex, they said.
The main Taliban militant group, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility.
Police chief Salahuddin Mahsud of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province said attackers opened fire on the main gate of a provincial Agricultural Department complex, initially wounding two guards and two students.
Mahsud said three attackers clad in women"s burqas then reached the gate in a rickshaw and opened fire to clear their way to the building. The ensuing firefight left 12 dead and dozens more injured.
Mahsud said before the attackers could reach other hostels, security forces evacuated residents in armor vehicles. "Police and military troops engaged in a quick and well-coordinated firefight and evacuation efforts saved scores of lives, otherwise the death toll could have been much higher."
TV footage showed bullets holes in building walls, blood stains and broken glass scattered on the floor.
Some students and others were present in the normally crowded complex at the time of the attack because Friday was a holiday for Muslims to celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad.
"We took shelter inside the bedroom and were begging the injured student not to make any sound as the terrorists might hear it and kill us," said Noor Wali, 19, a student at the institute.
The attack came over a week after a suicide bomber killed top police official Mohammad Ashraf Noor and his guard in the city.
Pervez Khattak, chief minister of the province, expressed grief over the lives lost. "These terrorists have no religion as they attacked on a day which is very sacred and the nation was celebrating it."
Ap - Afp - Xinhua
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