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Gunmen attack agriculture institute in Pakistan, killing 12
Islamist militants stormed a provincial government complex for agricultural research in northwest Pakistan on Friday, killing 12 people including students and wounding 35 others, police and rescue officials said.
Police and military troops killed three attackers during a firefight and while clearing the complex in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, they said.
The main Taliban militant group, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility saying the place they attacked was housing a secret intelligence office.
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 told reporters after the complex was cleared that among the dead, six were students and one was a guard. Six others were being identified.
Mahsud said before the attackers could reach other hostels, security forces were able to evacuate residents in armored 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," he said.
TV footage showed bullets holes in building walls, blood stains and broken glass scattered on the floor.
A comparatively small number of students and others were present in the typically crowded complex at the time of the attack because Friday is a holiday — the day when Muslims celebrate the birthday of the prophet Muhammad. Government and private buildings in the town were decorated and religious rallies were being carried out across the country, with sweets and milk distributed at street stalls, to celebrate the holiday.