PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Four or more Taliban militants disguised as women attacked a university dormitory in the northern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Friday, killing at least nine people and wounding at least 30 others, officials said.
Local news outlets, however, gave a higher death count and reported that 11 people were killed in the early morning attack on a boarding facility at the Agriculture Training Institute, located within the sprawling compound of University of Peshawar.
The militants wore burqas, women’s garments that fully cover the body and head, when they arrived at the gate of the institute in a rickshaw. They shot and wounded a security guard and then moved toward the dormitory, according to Islam Zeb, the deputy commissioner of Peshawar.
Mr. Zeb said two militants took positions on the ground floor and another two took hold one floor above as they carried out the attack. After a two-hour firefight, the security forces said, all the attackers had been killed.
The attack was claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, which used to wage frequent, large-scale attacks in Peshawar and other cities but has been weakened in recent years. In a statement, the militant group said its members had attacked a safe house of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, the country’s spy agency.
But security officials denied the claim that the university campus housed a secret intelligence facility. Local residents also said there was no evidence of an office related to the intelligence agency in the neighborhood.
Initial news of the attack sent shock waves through Pakistan, bringing back grim memories of a 2014 attack when Taliban militants stormed a school in Peshawar and killed at least 145 people, including at least 132 children.
Friday’s attack was met with a swift response by the police and the army, officials said. Security measures were already heightened around the country for t Eid Milad-un Nabi, a Muslim holiday commemorating the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.
Because of the long weekend, most of the students had left for their hometowns. Local news media reported that around 150 students were in the dormitory at the time of the attack.