PESHAWAR: Taliban militants stormed a training institute in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar Friday, injuring at least seven people, as the country marked the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed.
Two to three gunmen entered the Agriculture Training Institute Friday morning, where they began firing indiscriminately, Peshawar police chief Muhammad Tahir Khan told AFP.
"A number of people have been injured and the military and other law enforcement agencies are carrying out an operation to clear the area," he said.
The militants are believed to remain inside the compound. An AFP reporter at the site saw a helicopter hovering over the area and heard gunshots from inside the building.
A residential area also within the training institute compound is being evacuated.
Wasim Riaz, a senior police official, said seven people injured so far have been shifted to the government-run Lady Reading Hospital.
A spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Muhammad Khurasani, claimed responsibility for the attack in a telephone call to AFP.
"Our mujahids have attacked the building because it was used as office for ISI, God willing our fighters will fight till the last drop of blood," he said, referring to Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence agency.
The area where the incident occurred is a hub for educational institutions in the city including the university of Peshawar.
An interior ministry official told AFP that cellular networks have been suspended in various cities across the country for security reasons.
The incident comes amid tight security across Pakistan as it celebrates the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed.
Security was also tight after weeks-long anti-blasphemy protests in Islamabad that saw seven killed and hundreds wounded in clashes with police.
Violence erupted over the weekend after police and paramilitary forces launched a bungled attempt to clear the sit-in, igniting fresh demonstrations in cities across the country, including in Lahore and Karachi.
The protests were finally ended just days ago under a military-brokered deal.
In December 2014, a Taliban attack on the army-run school in Peshawar killed 151 people, mostly schoolchildren.