Officials said a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque filled with worshippers during afternoon prayers on Monday in Pakistan’s restive northwestern Peshawar city, killing at least 61 people and injuring more than 150 others, including police officers.
Around 1.40 pm, as worshippers – including members of the police, army, and bomb squad – were saying the Zuhr (afternoon) prayers, a tremendous explosion took place inside the mosque in the Police Lines neighbourhood.
Officials claimed that the bomber who was sitting in the front row detonated himself, which caused the ceiling to collapse on the worshippers.
61 persons were killed in the explosion, according to Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Peshawar Muhammad Ijaz Khan.
300 to 400 police officers, according to him, were in the vicinity when the blast occurred. He informed the journalists, “It is obvious that a security lapse happened.
Among those killed were the mosque’s imam, Maulana Sahibzada Noorul Amin, and at least five sub-inspectors.
Officials from Lady Reading Hospital reported that about 150 persons had injuries.
The suicide strike was carried out, according to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban, as retaliation for the death of TTP commander Umar Khalid Khurasani, who was slain in Afghanistan in August of last year.
According to a police spokesman, a section of the mosque collapsed and several individuals were reportedly underneath it.
“Right now, our attention is on the rescue effort. The safe recovery of those buried beneath the wreckage is our first goal “in command of the rescue effort, Bilal Faizi.
Inside of police lines, where there were four layers of security, the bomber penetrated the well guarded mosque.
Moazzam Jah Ansari, the head of the provincial police, said they are looking into the explosion and the bomber’s entry inside the well guarded mosque.
He stated his concerns that the bomber might have been living in the police lines prior to the explosion because there are also family quarters there.
Near the blast location are the offices of the Peshawar Police, the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), the Frontier Reserve Police (FRP), the Elite Force, and the Telecommunications Department.
Shehbaz Sharif, the prime minister, and General Asim Munir, the head of the army, hurried to Peshawar to assess the relief and rescue effort.
Along with the army chief, the premier paid a visit to Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital to check on the injured. Rana Sanaullah, the interior minister, and other representatives were also present.
The preliminary investigation report was presented at an emergency meeting that the prime minister called.
IGP Ansari informed the prime minister that he was unsure of the bomber’s origin or how he got past the police lines.
The incident happened as Shazad Kaukab, the Superintendent of Police (Investigation), Peshawar, approached the mosque to offer prayers, according to Kaukab, whose office is next to the mosque. He said that the attack was a lucky escape.
In the evening, 27 victims’ funerals were held together at police lines.
Prior to the attack, Prime Minister Sharif vehemently denounced it, claiming that the perpetrators “had nothing to do with Islam.”
He declared, “Terrorists want to instil terror by targeting people who uphold Pakistan’s defence,” and he assured that the sacrifices made by the bombing victims will not be in vain. “The entire country is unified in the fight against the terrorist threat.”
He added that a comprehensive strategy will be implemented to address the deteriorating law and order situation in unrest-plagued Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and that the federal government would aid the provinces in enhancing their capabilities to combat terrorism.
Terrorist acts prior to municipal and general elections, according to foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, were significant.
Haji Ghulam Ali, the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, denounced the explosion and urged people to provide blood to the injured, stating that doing so would be a “great favour for the police.”
According to officials, the injured and dead were sent to the Lady Reading Hospital.
In the hospitals of Peshawar, an emergency has been proclaimed. Citizens have been urged by the hospital to donate blood in support of the victims.
After the explosion in Peshawar, security has been boosted in other significant cities, including Islamabad. Snipers have been placed at “important locations and buildings” in Islamabad, and security has been boosted at all ports of entry and exit.
Azam Khan, the interim chief minister, denounced the attack and extended his sympathies to the grieving families.
Imran Khan, a former prime minister, vehemently denounced the terrorist assault at the mosque.
“The families of the victims have my sincere sympathies and condolences. To tackle the growing threat of terrorism, it is crucial that we strengthen our information collection and adequately equip our police forces “the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf tweeted.
63 people were killed in a similar incident at a Shia mosque in the city’s Kocha Risaldar neighbourhood last year.
The TTP, formed in 2007 as an umbrella organisation for various terrorist groups, broke off a cease-fire with the federal government and instructed its terrorists to carry out terrorist activities around the nation.
Assaults on military installations, the 2008 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, and several other violent incidents around Pakistan have been attributed to the organisation, which is thought to be affiliated with al-Qaeda. In 2009, an attack occurred against the army headquarters.
At least 150 people, including 131 pupils, were killed in 2014 when the Pakistani Taliban stormed the Army Public School (APS) in the city of Peshawar in the northwest. The attack was widely denounced and sent shockwaves throughout the world.
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