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UN chief strongly condemns Pakistan school attack

United Nations, Dec 17 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned the “bloodcurdling attack” on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, in which 148 people, including 132 students, were killed.

“No cause can justify such brutality. No grievance can excuse such horror. It is an act of horror and rank cowardice to attack defenseless children while they learn,” Ban said at the beginning of a Security Council meeting Tuesday.

“The hearts of the world go out to the parents and families who have lost loved ones in the horrific attack,” he said.

The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack earlier in the day, in which gunmen wearing army uniforms stormed into the army-run school in downtown Peshawar and exchanged fire with the security forces.

At least 245 others were injured in the attack and an unknown number of students and staff were held hostage by the militants.

Addressing the Council, Ban extended his deepest condolences to the people, government and particularly those touched by Tuesday’s tragedy, according to Xinhua.

“Schools must be safe and secure learning spaces. Getting an education is every child’s right. Going to school should not have to be an act of bravery,” he noted.

The secretary-general expressed the world organization’s support for the efforts of the Pakistani authorities in their fight against terrorism and extremism, and urged the government of Pakistan to make every effort to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Also in a statement, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) said the horrific, callous killing must do more than shock the conscience of the world.

“It must also summon us, all the more, to support the parents of Pakistan who wish for their children the best possible education and all those who are working to provide it,” it said in a statement, extending heartfelt sympathy to the families of the children who have been lost.