The Pakistan Taliban — Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) — claimed responsibility for the attack Tuesday.
Pervez Khattak, chief minister of the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said over 80 of the injured are children ranging from 12 to 16 years of age. He added that two of the attackers are now dead — one blew himself up, while the other was killed by security forces.
Earlier, Shahram Khan, the province’s health minister, told CNN that two teachers and an army official had also been killed, while 104 more were wounded.
The Pakistan military said a rescue operation involving its troops is currently underway at the school, with gunfire still being exchanged.
Khattak said there was an “ongoing hostage situation” at the school.
In a telephone call to CNN, a spokesman for the TTP, who identified himself as Mohammed Khurrassani, claimed that six suicide bombers entered the school compound with orders to kill older students.
He said the attack was revenge for the “Zarb e Azb, Khyber-1 military operation and revenge of dumped bodies of detained prisoners.”
For the past few months, the Pakistan military has been conducting a ground offensive aimed at clearing out militants in its restive regions along the border with Afghanistan. The campaign has displaced tens of thousands of people.
Northwestern Pakistan is home to loosely governed tribal areas. It’s also a base for foreign fighters and a refuge for members of the Taliban and other militant groups.