The depraved Taliban gunmen who slaughtered 132 students at a school in Pakistan contacted their commanders to ask: 'We have killed all the children, now what do we do?', it has been revealed.
Having stormed the Army Public School in Peshawar using machine guns and rocket launchers to massacre those inside, the six men were instructed to await the arrival of soldiers before detonating their suicide vests, according to a security official citing unspecified intelligence gathered on site.
The details come as it emerged sixteen prominent commanders from different wings of the Pakistani Taliban were involved in organising the attack, with another senior militant named Umar Adizai - also known as Umar Naray and Umar Khalifa - acting as the six killers' overall 'handler'.
The hunt is now on for the 17 men, all of whom have been named, with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif moving to end the moratorium on executing those convicted of terrorism - effectively signing the death warrant for the savage Peshawar commanders should they be caught.
Parents of the 132 victims of the Peshawar massacre now face the horrific ordeal of having to identify the remains of their children, many of whom have had their heads separated from their bodies either by bomb blasts or as a result of the militants' indiscriminate gunfire.
The news came amid reports that a five-year-old girl named Khola Altaf was the youngest victim of the massacre - despite alleged instructions from Taliban commanders not to kill 'small children'.
Khola is understood to have been on her first day the school's kindergarten when gunmen burst into the room and shot her at point blank range.
Following Tuesday's massacre, the Pakistani military carried out 20 airstrikes in a remote Taliban stronghold in the north west of the country, killing at least 57 militants.
The order for the raid was given by the overall leader of the Pakistani Taliban Maulana Fazlullah, whose previous crimes include ordering the failed murder of teenage education campaigner Malala Yousafzai, this year's winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
His capture will now be the highest priority for security officials, although, like many Pakistani Taliban leaders, he is believed to be hiding over the border in Afghanistan's Nuristan province - the same frontier region where the sickening Peshawar attack is thought to have been planned.
Conversations between the six attackers and their commanders during the seven-hour siege form part of a huge dossier of evidence that has already been compiled about Tuesday's massacre - which officials will now pour over to work out how the men were able to commit such an atrocity.
The information will also be crucial to the hunt for the killers' off-site commanders, who are believed to have given blow by blow instructions on how the massacre should be carried out.
The sixteen commanders are believed to belong to separate branches of the Pakistani Taliban, including groups such as the Geedar [Jackal] Taliban, Lashkar e Islam, the Mohmand Agency Taliban, and the North Waziristan Taliban.
Security officials believe that the attack was planned on the Afghan side of the Pakistan border, where a number of Pakistani Taliban officials - including Fazlullah - are thought to be based.
'The belongings we got from suicide bombers involved in the Peshawar School attack provided us with clues, and our intelligence agencies shared some other very valuable information related to the planning and execution of this terrorist attack,' a security officer said.
He named the suicide attackers themselves as men going by the names Abu Zar, Omar, Yousaf, Imran, Aziz and Qari Aur Chimnay.
This morning chilling new accounts emerged from those who survived the attack.
Student Aakif Azeem, 18, still wearing his green blazer, told BBC Radio 4: 'I was in the dining room when the gunmen started firing and one took a shot at me with a pistol, but the bullet ricocheted. There were children screaming and crying and there were bodies everywhere.'
'The corridors were dripping with blood. Even the teachers were terrified... All I could think about was where my little brother was. Later I found out that out of a class of 25 who died, he was the only one who escaped unharmed.'
'We want our revenge. We were all innocent and had absolutely nothing to do with this... You can rip up our school, you can take away our teachers, but you cannot take away our identity,' he went on to say.
Student Siam Salam, 11, added: 'I was in the classroom when we heard firing and I was very afraid. I didn't see the gunman come in, but then I could heard the firing and bombs even louder.
'I hid under my desk and waited until the army and ambulance arrived. Then I made a run for it out of the school. I didn't look back, I just ran until I got to the gate and escaped from the school.'
Depraved: The Taliban gunmen who slaughtered 148 innocent people, including 132 children, are pictured just hours before the massacre. The white banner they pose in front of is the flag of the Pakistani Taliban and reads: 'There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is Allah's Messenger'
In disguise: The photographs show the six heavily armed men wearing both traditional clothing of Taliban fighters and the Pakistan military uniforms they wore to avoid suspicion before storming the school
Killers: Photographs of the six men responsible for murdering 132 children were released by the Taliban this morning, along with an emailed statement revealing the terrorists plan more attacks at schools in Pakistan
Militants: All six gunmen were shot dead by Pakistan security officials - but not until they'd killed 132 children
Warped: These two-cold blooded killers stare menacingly into the camera before carrying out the massacre
Armed: Released by the terror group's spokesman Mohammad Khurasani a third group shot shows the same men wearing full military fatigues - an outfit that would outed them as Taliban to security guards
PAKISTAN COURT GRANTS BAIL TO ALLEGED MUMBAI TERROR ATTACK MASTERMIND LAKHVI
Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi
A court in Pakistan has granted bail to Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the man accused of masterminding the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, lawyers have claimed.
The 60-hour siege on India's economic capital left 166 people dead and was blamed on the banned militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Relations between the two nuclear-armed rivals worsened dramatically after the carnage in Mumbai, in which 10 gunmen attacked luxury hotels, a popular cafe, a train station and a Jewish centre.
Pakistan has had five Mumbai suspects in custody for more than five years and the failure to advance their trials has been a source of particular irritation in perennially-frosty ties with India.
'We had moved a bail application with the Islamabad anti-terror court on December 10, today the judge granted bail to my client after hearing arguments from both sides,' Lakhvi's lawyer Rizwan Abbasi said.
Prosecutor Mohammad Chaudhry Azhar confirmed the court had granted bail.
The court's decision comes a day after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to crack down on terror groups in Pakistan, following the Peshawar massacre.
Following the massacre, the Pakistani military carried out 20 airstrikes in a remote Taliban stronghold in the north west of the country, killing 57 militants.
It remains to be seen what other military or police action Pakistan will take to hunt down those responsible for the violence and to address militancy altogether in the country.
The army is already roughly six months into a major operation in the North Waziristan tribal region, the last remaining area of the frontier region where it had not carried out an offensive.
The military says it has killed over 1,200 insurgents. The operation was launched in June, and in recent weeks the army has also conducted aerial strikes in neighboring Khyber tribal region.
This morning a meeting between senior Pakistani government officials was held to discuss how to implement the death penalty now that a moratorium on executing those convicted of terror offences has ended.
Prior to the decision to end the moratorium convicted terrorists could expect to have their death sentences put on hold indefinitely.
Now, however, all those convicted of terror crimes since the moratorium began in 2008 can be legally executed at any time.
Azam Suleman, a senior government officer, said: 'I presided over a high level meeting held in Model Town, Lahore to discuss the situation following the Prime Minister's decision to end the moratorium on executing terrorists.'
'The Pakistani President has turned down the appeals of seventeen terrorists on the Prime Minister's advice,' he added.
Those attending the meeting are understood to have been informed that letters have been dispatched to every prison in the Punjab province instructing them to obtain execution warrants for those jailed for crimes of terror.
The Afghan government and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF) today vowed to help Pakistan combat militants sheltering in the country.
Pakistani Army General Raheel Sharif made an unscheduled visit to Afghanistan this morning to share intelligence with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Commander of Coalition Forces in Afghanistan, U.S. General John Campbell.
Yesterday the first pictures emerged of the men who carried out the massacre at the school.
The photos - apparently taken in the hours before Tuesday's attack - were released yesterday by the Taliban, together with a threat to carry out similar attacks despite international outrage over the carefully planned massacre.
In an email released this morning, Khurasani attempted to justify the attack by claiming that the Pakistani army has long killed the innocent children and families of Taliban fighters.
But he vowed more such militant attacks and told Pakistani civilians to detach themselves from all military institution, adding: 'We are still able to carry out major attacks. This was just the trailer.'
In the email, the terror group warned Muslims to avoid places with military ties, saying it attacked the school to avenge the deaths of children allegedly killed by soldiers in tribal areas.
It accused the students at the army school of 'following the path of their fathers and brothers to take part in the fight against the tribesmen' nationwide.
A little girl who witnessed a massacre at her school in Pakistan has described how she cowered behind her desk as terrorists murdered her classmates - and how she hopes to one day become a doctor and help those hurt in terror attacks.
In an interview with Pakistani media, Shahid Khan said his daughter Eman is a three-year-old pupil at the Army Public School in Peshawar, where six Taliban militants gunned down 148 students and teachers.
She was told by her teacher Hafsa, who was later killed in the attack, to hide behind a desk when the killers stormed the school.
She said: 'I just shut my eyes as it was so horrible what was happening before me.
'I saw some very ugly guys enter the room and started shouting in a different language.
'My teacher asked me to go and hide behind the table and not look. They are bad people.'
Referring to the AK47 assault rifles the terrorists were using, Eman said: 'I don't know what things they had in their hands but I heard noises like the ones we hear in movies.'
The stoic child doesn't know how long she stayed there before she was rescued.
She added: 'After long time a good man came and shook hands with me and asked me to come out.
He said: 'Dear everything's fine now'.'
The warning came as the Prince of Wales joined the international condemnation of the attack, describing it as 'sickening' and a 'horrific reminder that Muslims themselves are the victims of the violent intolerance of the extremists'.
Speaking at the Syrian Orthodox Church in London, Prince Charles added: 'The many, many families in Pakistan who have lost children, other relatives, friends and colleagues in the massacre are in my prayers.'
The Peshawar atrocity is said to have been ordered by Maulana Fazlullah, head of the Taliban in Pakistan and the man who ordered the shooting of teenage education campaigner Malala Yousafzai, this year's winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Fazlullah is understood to have demanded that his lieutenant Umar Naray managed the operation, and communicated with the gunmen directly from his base over the border in Afghanistan.
Pakistan's army chief of staff, Raheel Sharif, flew to Kabul to seek help in tracking him down.
'His communications have been intercepted as well which helped security agencies in tracing his location and whereabouts which was urgently shared not only with the Afghan army but also with Nato forces,' a security source was quoted as telling Peshawar's Dawn newspaper.
The firebrand militant, whose thick black beard reaches halfway down his chest, took control of the Pakistani Taliban 13 months ago.
It is thought the massacre may have been his barbaric revenge for Malala, 17, being award the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this year.
Whatever his twisted motive, Fazlullah has succeeded in uniting the world in revulsion once again.
In a society usually reluctant to criticise the Taliban, there was an outpouring of anger across Pakistan yesterday.
At a vigil in the capital Islamabad, Fatimah Khan, 38, said: 'I don't have words for my pain and anger. They slaughtered those children like animals.'
Naba Mehdi, 16, had a message of defiance for the Taliban.
'We're not scared of you,' she said. 'We will still study and fight for our freedom. This is our war.'
As the photographs of the murders were released by the Pakistani Taliban, all six men were named on Twitter. But their personal details have not yet been independently verified.
The government in Islamabad immediately responded by instructing schools across the country to increase their security and to rehearse escape routines.
It came as mass funerals took place across Peshawar on the first of three days of national mourning and as Pakistan's prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, ordered a moratorium on the death penalty to be lifted for terror-related cases.
Government spokesman Mohiuddin Wan said: 'It was decided that this moratorium should be lifted. The prime minister approved... Black warrants [execution orders] will be issued within a day or two.'
The moratorium on civilian executions had been in place since 2008. Only one execution has taken place since then.
Amid harrowing scenes, dozens of small wooden coffins were carried for burial together with those of their teachers. Rows of children and fellow pupils stood in silence, some weeping, their hands clasped in front of them beside the lines of caskets draped in blankets.
People across the country lit candles and held vigils for the 148 who were killed – seven more of the critically injured died in hospital yesterday.
'They finished in minutes what I had lived my whole life for – my son,' said labourer Akhtar Hussain, tears streaming down his face as he buried 14-year-old Fahad.
He said he had worked for years in Dubai to earn a livelihood for his children, adding: 'That innocent one is now gone in the grave, and I can't wait to join him, I can't live any more.'
Among the best attended of the funerals was that of teacher Afsha Ahmed, 24, who confronted the gunmen when they burst into her classroom and told them: 'You can only kill my students over my dead body.'
She was burned alive as she stood in front of her pupils.
The family of another teacher torched alive in front of her class gathered to say funeral prayers.
Tahira Kazi, the principal of the Army Public School and College in Peshawar, was set on fire by jihadists who slaughtered so many.
It is believed she was targeted because she is married to a retired army colonel, Kazi Zafrullah. The picture obtained by MailOnline shows her standing proudly next to a student believed to be her son.
Prime Minister Sharif said Pakistan stood united to ensure the deaths of the children were not wasted, after a meeting of all party leaders in Peshawar. He promised that in military action, there would be no distinction between 'good and bad' Taliban.
He said he spoke to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to discuss how both countries could do more to fight terrorism. Significantly, the two agreed to launch operations on their respective sides of the border, and pledged to 'clean this region from terrorism'.
Yesterday, the first devastating images also emerged of the blood-soaked classrooms where 132 innocent children and nine teachers were massacred by the Taliban.
Horrifying pictures revealed the carnage wrought by seven extremist gunmen who sprayed children with bullets as they sat receiving first aid tuition and exploded suicide bombs in a room of 60 pupils.
In a grim tour of the building photographers were shown inside the auditorium.
The floor is caked in blood in places and dozens of chairs lie in disarray, knocked over by children running for cover as the terrorists hosed them with bullets.
The lucky ones, it transpired, survived by playing dead under these chairs as the gunmen stalked the room, searching for children they'd missed.
The barbaric slaughter at the Peshawar school was ordered by the Taliban's leader Maulana Fazlullah, who took over the running of the group last November.
Born Fazal Hayat in 1974 in the Swat Valley, Fazlullah is a member of the Yousafzai tribe - the same group of ethnic Pashtuns from which Malala takes her surname.
Aged 18 he became the leader of the local terror group Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi after its leadership was decimated by arrests following the September 11 attacks in New York.
In the hope of cementing his legitimacy as leader, Fazlullah married the daughter of Sufi Muhammad, who founded Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi in 2002. Rumours that his henchmen kidnapped the bride and forced her to marry him have dogged Fazlullah ever since.
While in jail, Muhammad ordered Fazlullah to adopt his new name and sent him reams of radical Islamic literature designed to assist and guide his son in law.
By the time Muhammad was released from prison in 2008, Fazlullah's leadership was secure enough for its founder not to resume control.
Later that year Fazlullah allied Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi with the Pakistani Taliban, and he started taking direct orders from Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud.
This relationship would allow Fazlullah to become increasingly close to senior figures in the terror group.
While taking orders from the Pakistani Taliban, Fazlullah controlled more than 4,000 fighters - helping him to effectively run a parallel government in the Swat Valley and impose strict Sharia law across 57 villages.
It was while governing the Swat Valley that Fazlullah began using FM radio stations to broadcast his firebrand sermons in the area, earning him the nickname Radio Mullah.
His rantings about 'sins' such as television, music, and computers were deemed compulsory listening among the villagers as the Taliban imposed a rigorous version of Islamic law, publicly beheading and flogging wrongdoers and burning schools.
Later in 2007 the Pakistani military forced the band of jihadis out of Swat Valley and arrested Fazlullah's brother. Fazlullah fled to Afghanistan where he was believed to have been seriously injured in 2009 before returning to Swat.
That same year Fazlullah told BBC's Urdu Service that he planned to launch fresh attacks on the Pakistani military in the area.
Over the following three years Fazlullah's band of militants carried near constant cross-border raids on the Swat Valley and seized more and more territory along the frontier region. In 2012 Reuters indicated that Fazlullah controlled a 12 miles stretch of land in Afghanistan's Nuristan province.
It was during this time that Fazlullah ordered the death of Malala Yousafzai - the teenage education campaigner who almost died when a masked gunman in Swat Valley jumped into a vehicle taking girls home from school and shouted 'Who is Malala?' before shooting her in the head.
Last November Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed by a U.S. drone strike, leading to the Taliban's supreme council electing Fazlullah as its new head.
Since then, the militant has specialised in the kind attention grabbing savagery that deflects attention away from the Taliban's declining influence in Swat Valley, which has been eroded by bitter feuds broke out with local clans - including the traditionally dominant Mehsud tribe.
Fazlullah has also found his power reined in by the Pakistani military's fresh push into the Taliban's former North Waziristan stronghold.
Rise to power: Maulana Fazlullah was elected as head of the Pakistani Taliban after the death in a U.S. drone strike of long-term leader Hakimullah Mehsud (pictured centre in brown hat)
In September Fazlullah also declared the Taliban's support for the Islamic State and vowed to send fighters to assist the terror group as it was wages bloody war in Syria and Iraq.
The BBC faced criticism yesterday for not using the word 'terrorist' to describe the Taliban fanatics behind the school massacre in Pakistan.
The broadcaster's TV, radio and online reports called the extremists who carried out the bloody attack 'militants' or 'gunmen'.
Tory MP Conor Burns said the Peshawar gunmen were 'clearly terrorists' and called on the BBC to stop toning down its language.
'Oh our brothers, we are proud of you in your victories. We are with you in your happiness and your sorrow,' Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said in a statement issued to mark the Muslim holy festival of Eid al-Adha.
'In these troubled days, we call for your patience and stability, especially now that all your enemies are united against you. Please put all your rivalries behind you,' he added.
'All Muslims in the world have great expectations of you . We are with you, we will provide you with Mujahideen [fighters] with every possible support,' he said.
Tuesday's brutal massacre of schoolchildren is widely seen as an attempt by Fazlullah to prove to his rivals that the Taliban is still a relevant force.
The strategy may not be particularly well thought out, however, as it is only likely to add to the tribal divisions that have drastically weakened the group over the past year.