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Pakistan Hangs Four Over Taliban School Massacre

A man places a rose after lighting candles in front of portraits of victims of the Taliban attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, which killed scores of people last year.

Pakistan has hanged four men for involvement in a Taliban attack at a school last year that left 151 dead, most of them children.

The hangings early on December 2 were the first connected to the attack on December 16, 2014, by Taliban militants on the army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

The attack outraged Pakistan and prompted a government crackdown on extremism, including a resumption of capital punishment after a six-year moratorium.

Security sources said the four were executed at the civilian-run central jail in the town of Kohat.

The four men had been convicted on August 13, according to a military statement earlier in the week. All were said to belong to the Toheedwal Jihad Group, a previously unknown faction of the Pakistani Taliban.

Relatives of the victims and survivors of the attack reacted with satisfaction to the news of the hangings.

"The rest should be caught too, no one should be spared," survivor Waheed Anjum, 18, told the AFP news agency.

Anjum, who was 17 at the time of the attack, was struck by three bullets, one in each arm and one in his chest.

All nine attackers were killed in the siege on Peshawar's Army Public School.

Nasir Ullah, whose 15-year-old son was killed in the tragedy, said he was relieved when he heard news of the hanging.

"They should have been hanged in public, just like they killed our children in broad daylight," Ullah said.

So far more than 300 convicts have been hanged for terrorism-related offences, amid criticism from international and local rights groups.

"Executions have failed to stop militancy. How can hangings stop a terrorist who is wearing a suicide vest?" asked Zaman Khan, a spokesman for the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP