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Pakistan massacre: "I saw death so close and I will never forget the black boots approaching".

Warning – this post contains graphic images.

A teenage survivor of Tuesday’s Taliban attack on a Pakistan school described how he played dead after being shot in both legs by insurgents hunting down students to kill.

Speaking from his bed in the trauma ward of the city’s Lady Reading Hospital, Shahrukh Khan, 16, said he and his classmates were in a careers guidance session in the school auditorium when four gunmen wearing paramilitary uniforms burst in.

peshawar massacre

An injured Pakistani student has survived an attack by Taliban gunmen on his school in Peshawar. Source: AFP/ A.Majeed

“Someone screamed at us to get down and hide below the desks,” he said, adding that the gunmen shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) before opening fire.

“Then one of them shouted ‘there are so many children beneath the benches, go and get them’,” the student said.

“I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches.”

He said he felt searing pain after being shot in both his legs just below the knee.

He decided to play dead, adding: “I folded my tie and pushed it into my mouth so that I wouldn’t scream.”

peshawar massacre

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Pakistani soldiers transport rescued schoolchildren from the site of an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar, on December 16, 2014 (Source: AFP Photo:A Majeed)

“The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again.

“My body was shivering. I saw death so close and I will never forget the black boots approaching me – I felt as though it was death that was approaching me.”

The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again.

Shahrukh Khan, 16-year-old student

As his father, a shopkeeper, comforted him in his blood-soaked bed, Shahrukh recalled: “The men left after some time and I stayed there for a few minutes.”

“Then I tried to get up but fell to the ground because of my wounds.

“When I crawled to the next room, it was horrible. I saw the dead body of our office assistant on fire,” he said.

“She was sitting on the chair with blood dripping from her body as she burned.”

peshawar massacre

Activists of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf shout slogans against terrorism as they light candles for the victims of an attack by Taliban gunmen on a school in Peshawar, in Karachi. Source:AFP : Asif Hassan

It was not immediately clear how the female employee’s body caught fire, though her remains were also later seen by an AFP reporter in a hospital mortuary.

The student, who said he also saw the body of a soldier who worked at the school, crawled behind a door to hide and then lost consciousness.

“When I woke up I was lying on the hospital bed,” he added.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack as retaliation for a major military offensive in the region, saying its militants had been ordered to shoot older students.

This post originally appearred on the ABC and has been republished here with full permission.

AFP

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