In the suicide bombing case of Peshawar, Northwest Pakistan, the death toll has risen to 83, while at least 57 were injured, some of them were critically injured, Reuters quoted a hospital spokesperson saying. It was later learned that this incident of a suicide bomber detonating himself in a packed and well-guarded mosque was the latest in a series of attacks on police.
A high-intensity explosion took place at a mosque in Peshawar’s Police Lines area on Monday afternoon during the Zuhr prayers. Peshawar Commissioner Riaz Mehsood confirmed the casualties, according to Dawn.com.
One of the brothers of slain commander of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Umar Khalid Khurasani claimed that the suicide attack was to avenge the deceased terrorist, who was killed in August 2023 in Afghanistan.
Due to the blast intensity, a portion of the mosque collapsed and several people are believed to be trapped under it. Rescuers have been trying to remove mounds of debris to get to those trapped under the rubble.
The blast occurred inside the mosque in the Police Lines area around 1.40 pm when the bomber, who was sitting in the front row with other devotees, blew himself up, officials said. Capital City Police Officer Peshawar Muhammad Ijaz Khan said that the roof of the mosque collapsed after the blast.
“A number of jawans are still stuck under the rubble and rescuers are trying to pull them out,” Ijaz Khan said, as reported by Dawn.com .“The smell of explosives has been detected, but it is too early to say anything substantial,” the police officer added.
The injured from the Peshawar police line mosque blast have been moved to a nearby medical facility of Lady Reading Hospital. The hospital spokesperson, Mohammad Asim, told Dawn that the injured were still being brought in and some of them were in critical condition.
Emergency has been imposed by the caretaker government of KP in Peshawar’s hospitals. Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has strongly condemned the blast and said, “Terrorists want to create fear by targeting those who perform the duty of defending Pakistan.”
“The entire nation is standing united against the menace of terrorism,” Sharif said in a statement. PTI Chairman Imran Khan also condemned the attack in the Peshawar mosque and criticised intelligence lapse. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also slammed the attack. “Terrorist incidents before the local and general elections were meaningful,” he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Haji Ghulam Ali, meanwhile, urged people to come forward and donate blood for the injured, saying that it would be a “huge favour for the police”. The injured were shifted to Lady Reading Hospital, police said. The hospital authorities said 13 of the injured were in a critical condition. Hospitals in Peshawar are now in a state of emergency and are trying to put out resources to aid the government save the injured.