12 dead, 35 injured in terrorist attack on Peshawar institute

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Pakistani troops secure the premises of the Agriculture Training Institute in Peshawar city following a deadly attack by Taliban terrorists on Friday morning, killing at least nine people and injuring more than 30 others. (AN photo)
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Pakistani troops secure the premises of the Agriculture Training Institute in Peshawar city following a deadly attack by Taliban terrorists on Friday morning, killing at least nine people and injuring more than 30 others. (AN photo)
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A crowd gathers at the gate of the Agriculture Training Institute in Peshawar city following a deadly attack by Taliban terrorists on Friday morning. (AN photo)
Updated 01 December 2017
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12 dead, 35 injured in terrorist attack on Peshawar institute

PESHAWAR, Pakistan: Taliban militants armed with automatic weapons and hand grenades stormed the campus of the Agriculture Training Institute in Peshawar city on Friday morning, killing at least 12 people and injuring more than 35 others. Most of the victims were students.

Provincial police chief Salahuddin Mehsud told reporters that gunmen entered the campus clad in “burqas” and wearing suicide vests.

The army and police conducted a joint operation that lasted for about two hours and killed three attackers.

Mehsud said police are trying to identify a fourth suspect whose body was found at the site.

The attackers apparently targeted a dormitory for students and teachers at the campus.

Another senior police official, Sajjad Khan, later told NBC News: “Three suicide bombers armed with AK-47 assault rifles and hand grenades entered the hostel and opened fire on the students before triggering their explosives-filled jackets.”

Although the police and army reached the site within five-to-six minutes, several people had been killed in the attack’s early moments.

One student, who managed to flee from the hostel, told media that there were about 40 students in the hostel at the time of the attack.

“Along with some 15 others, I fled the place and we escaped unhurt,” he said.

Another student, Sajjadullah, from Buner district, told Arab News that soon after the first shots were fired, students ran from their rooms and jumped over the boundary wall, fleeing for their lives.

Hayatabad Medical Complex Director Shahzad Akbar told media that six bodies and 18 wounded had been brought to the health facility, while sources at Khyber Teaching Hospital said they received three bodies and 17 injured.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place around 20 miles from the Afghanistan border.

Peshawar has been the scene of several such attacks, including the deadliest atrocity in Pakistan’s history, when the Pakistani Taliban killed more than 130 children at the Army Public School in December 2014, since when Pakistan’s military have conducted several major operations against extremists and their auxiliary groups.

But Peshawar has witnessed a surge in terror attacks in recent weeks. On Nov. 24, Additional Inspector General of Police Ashraf Noor was killed when a suicide bomber rammed his motorcycle into the police official's vehicle en route to his office.

A Pakistan military spokesman told the media that the attackers were in contact with their handlers in Afghanistan throughout the assault.

Meanwhile, Afghan Ambassador Omer Zakhilwal took to Twitter to condemn the “cowardly terrorist attack” in the “strongest terms.”

“Our hearts and prayers on this exalted day of Milad-ul-Nabi are with the bereaved families,” he added.

The attack came as an Afghan military delegation is visiting Pakistan to discuss border security.

TTP spokesman Mohammed Khorasani claimed in a message available with Arab News that the assailants targeted a safe house of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan's spy agency.


Dutch, UK polls open, starting 4 days of European elections

Updated 36 min 58 sec ago
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Dutch, UK polls open, starting 4 days of European elections

  • Voters across Europe will elect 751 lawmakers in the elections
  • UK’s 73 lawmakers in the EU Parliament will lose their jobs if the country leaves the union

THE HAGUE: Dutch and UK polls opened Thursday in elections for the European Parliament, starting four days of voting across the 28-nation bloc that pits supporters of deeper integration against populist Euroskeptics who want more power for their national governments.
A half hour after voting started in the Netherlands, polls opened across the United Kingdom, the only other country voting Thursday, and a nation still wrestling with its plans to leave the European Union altogether and the leadership of embattled Prime Minister Theresa May.
The elections, which end Sunday night, come as support is surging for populists and nationalists who want to rein in the EU’s powers, while traditional powerhouses like France and Germany insist that unity is the best buffer against the shifting economic and security interests of an emerging new world order.
French President Emmanuel Macron says the challenge is “not to cede to a coalition of destruction and disintegration” that will seek to dismantle EU unity built up over the past six decades.
In a significant challenge to those centrist forces, populists appear largely united heading into the elections. On Saturday, Italy’s anti-migrant Interior Minister Matteo Salvini was joined at a rally by 10 other nationalist leaders, including far-right leaders Marine Le Pen of France’s National Rally party and Joerg Meuthen of the Alternative for Germany party.
On Thursday morning, UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn released a message with a warning that “the far-right is on the rise” and adding that “the actions we take now will have huge consequences for our future.”
Voters across Europe elect a total of 751 lawmakers, although that number is set to drop to 705 when the UK leaves the EU. The Dutch make up just 26 currently and 29 after Brexit. The UK has 73 European lawmakers, who would lose their jobs when their country completes its messy divorce from the EU.
Results of the four days of voting will not be officially released until Sunday night, but Dutch national broadcaster NOS will publish an exit poll after ballot boxes close Thursday night.
The Netherlands could provide a snapshot of what is to come. Polls show the right-wing populist Forum for Democracy led by charismatic intellectual Thierry Baudet running neck-and-neck with the center-right VVD party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
While the country, an affluent trading nation, profits from the EU’s open borders and single market, it also is a major contributor to EU coffers. Skeptical Dutch voters in 2005 rejected a proposed EU constitution in a referendum.
Baudet, whose party emerged as a surprise winner of provincial elections in March, identifies more with hard-line Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban than with the nationalist populist movement led by Salvini, although in a debate Wednesday night he called Salvini a “hero of Europe” for his crackdown on migration.