A suicide bomber struck Monday inside a mosque within a police compound located in the Northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar killing at least 28 people and injuring as many as 150 worshipers. According to officials, most of the injured were policemen.
The bombing quickly drew nationwide condemnation from government officials and oppositional political parties. Ghulam Ali, the provincial governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa stated that there were fears that the death tolls could rise even further.
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The targeted mosque is located within a sprawling compound, which serves as the city’s police headquarters. Police say that between 300 to 350 worshippers were inside the mosque at the time the bomber detonated the explosives. There hasn’t been anyone who has claimed responsibility for the bombing. But, according to Saddique Khan, a senior police official in Peshawar, the Pakistani Taliban have previously been blamed for similar suicide attacks in the past.
It is still unclear how the bomber managed to penetrate deep inside the zone, after the police component is located in a very high-security zone. The impact of the explosion managed to collapse the roof of the mosque, which caved in and injured several, according to local police.
Suicide Bombing Kills 20, Injures 96 at Pakistan Mosque
38-year-old officer Meena Gul, a survivor, said that he was inside the mosque when the bomb went off. He noted that he didn’t know how he survived but could hear cries and screams after the bomb went off.
Rescuers quickly scrambled to remove debris from the mosque ground in order to get worshipers who were still trapped under the rubble. According to authorities, many of the wounded were listed in critical condition as the casualty number rose hourly.
Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif condemned the bombing and ordered authorities to ensure the “best possible medical treatment to the victims.” He also vowed to take stern action against those behind the attack.
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan also condemned the bombing, calling it a terrorist suicide attack. “My prayers & condolences go to victims’ families,” he said on Twitter. “It is imperative we improve our intelligence gathering & properly equip our police forces to combat the growing threat of terrorism.”