At least 21 killed in Pakistan university gun battle

CHARSADDA - Militants raided a university in northwest Pakistan, timing their attack to a ceremony at the school to ensure maximum casualties.

As security forces combed the campus block by block after the massacre Wednesday, they counted the bodies of at least 21 students. Four militants were also killed, said army spokesman Lt. Gen. Asim Bajwa,

The attack took place at Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, Peshawar -- less than 40 kilometers (25 miles) from where the Pakistani Taliban slayed 145 people, including 132 children, in another college attack in December 2014.

It was unclear whether the group was responsible for Wednesday's incident.

One Pakistani Taliban spokesman, Umar Mansoor, said it was in retaliation for military operations against the group. But another, Mohammad Khurrassani, from a separate wing of the militant group, condemned it.

Wednesday was the 28th anniversary of the university's founder, Abdul Ghaffar Khan -- a 1920s Pashtun independence activist and pacifist also known as Bacha Khan. Guests were gathered at the university to pay tribute to the man when the militants came, said student Zahoor Khan.

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