- The variety of worshipers reached 400 on the time of the explosion
- A lot of the useless had been law enforcement officials
- Nobody has claimed duty for the assault
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a crowded mosque in a closely fortified safety compound in Pakistan on Monday, killing 59 folks within the newest assault by Islamist militants focusing on police.
Police mentioned the attacker appeared to have handed by way of a number of checkpoints manned by safety forces to succeed in the “Crimson Zone” compound housing police and counter-terrorism places of work within the restive northwestern metropolis of Peshawar.
“It was a suicide bombing,” Peshawar police chief Aijaz Khan instructed Reuters. He added that lots of the 170 injured had been in vital situation.
The hospital official, Mohamed Assem, mentioned in an announcement that the demise toll rose to 59 after a number of folks succumbed to their wounds.
The bombing befell a day earlier than an Worldwide Financial Fund mission was despatched to Islamabad to start talks on opening financing for the economic system of the South Asian nation, which is affected by a steadiness of funds disaster.
Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif condemned the assault.
Officers mentioned the attacker detonated his explosives whereas tons of of individuals lined up for prayers.
“We discovered traces of explosives,” Khan instructed reporters, including that there was clearly a safety breach because the bomber infiltrated by way of probably the most safe space of the compound.
An investigation was underneath strategy to learn how the attacker breached such an elite cordon of safety and if there was any insider assist.
Khan mentioned the mosque corridor was crowded with as much as 400 worshipers and that a lot of the useless had been law enforcement officials.
No group has claimed duty for the assault, the worst in Peshawar since March 2022, when an Islamic State suicide bombing killed no less than 58 folks in a Shiite mosque throughout Friday prayers.
Militant Islamist teams together with the Islamic State group and the Pakistani Taliban incessantly goal Peshawar, which lies on the fringes of Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
“Allah is the best”
Protection Minister Khawaja Asif instructed Geo TV that the bomber was standing within the first row of worshipers.
Mushtaq Khan, the policeman who was shot within the head, instructed reporters from his hospital mattress: “Because the prayer corridor mentioned ‘Allahu Akbar’, there was an enormous bang.”
“We could not determine what occurred as a result of the explosion was deafening. It threw me off the balcony. The partitions and ceiling fell on me. Thank God he saved me.”
The explosion led to the autumn of the higher ground of the mosque, trapping dozens of worshipers underneath the rubble. Reside tv footage confirmed rescuers slicing throughout the collapsed deck to make their method by way of and have a tendency to victims trapped within the wreckage.
“We can’t say what number of are nonetheless underneath it,” mentioned the provincial governor, Haji Ghulam Ali.
“The sheer scale of the human tragedy is unimaginable,” Sharif mentioned. “That is nothing lower than an assault on Pakistan. The nation is overwhelmed with a deep sense of grief. I’ve little doubt that terrorism is our primary nationwide safety problem.”
Witnesses described chaos as police and rescue employees rushed the injured to hospitals.
Sharif, who appealed to his social gathering’s staff to donate blood in hospitals, mentioned that anybody who targets Muslims throughout prayer has nothing to do with Islam.
(Reporting by Gibran Ahmed in Peshawar and Asif Shahzad in Islamabad). Written by Shilpa Jamkhandikar and Asif Shahzad; Modifying by Bernadette Baum, Mark Heinrichs, and Grant McCall
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