At least 25 people died and 120 were injured by an explosion by a suicide attack this monday in a mosque at the police headquarters in the Pakistani city of Peshawarindicated a local government official.
The event occurred during the evening prayer in Peshawar, near the border with Afghanistan. The mosque was located near a police housing block, inside which there were about 260 people when the explosion occurred, according to police.
“I am here at the scene and rescue efforts are underway,” said Peshawar Deputy City Commissioner Shafiullah Khan. “More bodies are being removed. At this time our priority is to save the people buried under the rubble”, he added.
An officer from the Police control room in Peshawar, Behzaad Khan, had announced that a suicide bomber detonated his charge at the mosque located in the Police Lines area.
“It has happened during prayers. A two-story building has collapsed.”, an eyewitness told local news channel Geo TV, saying that he was just outside the mosque when the explosion took place.
“We received 19 dead and more than 90 wounded from the blast,” Mohammad Asim, a spokesman for the city’s Lady Reading hospital, said before authorities raised the toll on the attack. “Many others are in critical condition.” The source pointed out that the medical center has been forced to make an appeal to donate blood to treat the dozens of injured, while more victims continue to arrive at the facility.
There are more victims buried under the rubble, according to police.
Images of the state chain PTV they showed police officers and residents working to remove rubble and carrying the injured on their shoulders. “A part of the building has collapsed and it is believed that there are several people under the wreckage,” police officer Sikandar Khan said.
For now, no insurgent formation has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The last attack against a religious center in Pakistan took place in the same city of Peshawar in March 2022, when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in a Shiite minority mosque, leaving 56 dead and almost 200 injured. This attack, claimed by EI-K, the local branch of the Islamic State jihadist group, was the worst suffered by Pakistan since 2018.
Pakistan has faced a deteriorating security situation in recent months, particularly since the Taliban regained power in Afghanistan in August 2021.
After several years of relative calm, there were again attacks by the Pakistani branch of the Taliban, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the IS-K and Baluch separatist groups.
Pakistan reproaches the Taliban for allowing these groups to use its territory to plan attacks, something the Kabul authorities deny.
(With information from AFP, Reuters and EFE)
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