Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN)A university in the northwest of Pakistan has come under attack by armed militants, and at least 20 students have been killed, with further casualties feared.
Gunfire and explosions were heard Wednesday morning local time from within Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, northwestern Pakistan.
There are still dead inside and the operation is ongoing, Bilal Faizi, a local emergency service spokesman told CNN. Fog and low visibility have been hampering military and police efforts to regain control.
Lt. Gen. Asim Bajwa, an army spokesperson, said on Twitter that four attackers had been killed and that government troops had resumed control of all buildings and rooftops. An updated tweet said that the gunfire had ceased and troops were clearing the site block by block.
There have so far been no claims of responsibility.
Shabbir Hussain Imam, a local journalist, told CNN that at least 15 injured had been taken to the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, the largest in the region and one specifically equipped to handle terror attacks.
Zahoor Khan, a student at the university, said that he saw his chemistry professor shot while advising students to stay inside.
University faculty, administrative staff and students are still on the university grounds. Five injured people have so far been evacuated from the campus, the report states, but none of the 3,000 students and 600 guests on the university campus have been injured, according to Pakistani media, citing an audio message released by Fazal Rahim Marwat, vice-chancellor of Bacha Khan University.
The university was founded in 2012 and named after Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a 1920s Pashtun independence activist and pacifist also known as Bacha Khan, who died in 1988. Today is the 28th anniversary of his death,according to CNN affiliate Geo TV. Guests were gathered at the university to pay tribute to the activist, student Zahoor Khan said.
Bajwa, the army spokesperson, earlier tweeted that the attackers have been contained within two blocks of the university and operations are ongoing, and also said on Twitter that the Army was conducting air surveillance above the university.
“Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is deeply grieved over the sad incident of terrorists’ attack on Bacha Khan University, Charsada, which has reportedly resulted into the loss of precious human lives and injured many others,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s office read.
“While condemning the cowardly attack of the terrorists, the Prime Minister said that those killing innocent students and citizens have no faith and religion.”
The statement signed off with a quote from Sharif.
“We are determined and resolved in our commitment to wipe out the menace of terrorism from our homeland. The countless sacrifices made by our countrymen will not go in vain,” the statement quoted the Prime Minister, who is currently in Zurich, as saying.
Former Pakistan cricket captain and chairman of the Tehreek-e-Insaf political party Imran Khan condemned the terrorist attack.
“I am going to Charsadda myself, and will review the situation myself. We are united against terrorism and all of Pakistan is on page,” he told reporters.
The past few days have seen an increase in militancy in the region, including an attack on a checkpoint in Khyber Agency, a region west of Peshawar that borders Afghanistan, where ten people were killed and 36 others injured.
The university, in Charsadda, near the border with Afghanistan, is less than 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar, site of a December 2014 attack by militants from the Pakistan iTaliban. One hundred forty-five people, including 132 children and the school’s principal, were killed in that attack.