At least 22 people have been killed by jihadis on a Pakistani university campus on Wednesday, reports say; one member of a Pakistani Taliban faction has claimed responsibility for the attack while another spokesman for the Taliban denied its involvement. The incident at Bacha Khan University in the city of Charsadda took place 25 miles from the site of a December 2014 Taliban massacre at a school that killed more than 120. From the New York Times:
Under a heavy fog on Wednesday, gunmen scaled the rear walls of the university around 9 a.m., firing into the air, witnesses said.
Security forces killed the attackers before they could detonate suicide vests, said Saeed Wazir, the Charsadda police chief.
The dead included students, a senior faculty member and four guards, said Fakhr-i-Alam, a senior government official.
The incident is at least the fifth large-scale attack on a civilian target by jihadis worldwide since Jan. 11; an earlier New York Times article this week noted the number of (seemingly unconnected) recent attacks across the globe even before news of the incident in Pakistan:
The settings for the attacks were the softest of soft targets: a shopping mall in Iraq; a hotel and a cafe in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso; a popular shopping area in Jakarta, Indonesia; and Sultanahmet Square, the historic and cultural heart of Istanbul.
Seemingly uncoordinated, the indiscriminate violence highlighted the goal of Islamist militants determined to sow terror in disparate corners of the world.
Wednesday’s attack is believed to have been perpetrated by four individuals, who were all killed by responding authorities.