Suicide bomber at mosque in Pakistan kills 32, targets police
By Jibran Ahmad
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – A suicide bombing at a crowded mosque in Pakistan’s Peshawar killed at least 32 people on Monday, the latest attack on police in the western city north, where Islamic militants are still active.
Hospital officials said at least 147 people were injured, many of them in critical condition.
Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif called the explosion a suicide attack. Police official Sikandar Khan added that there were at least 260 people inside the mosque.
No one claimed responsibility for the bombing, which tore through the mosque during midday prayers, causing a wall to collapse over the heads of those praying. The building is located inside a fortified complex that includes the headquarters of the provincial police force and an anti-terrorism department.
Defense Minister Khawaja Asif told Geo TV: “We know that the terrorist is in the front row.
Footage from government broadcaster PTV showed police and residents scrambling to clear debris from the blast site and carry the wounded on their shoulders.
It was the city’s worst attack since last March, when a suicide bombing at a Shi’ite mosque during Friday prayers killed at least 58 people and wounded them. injured nearly 200 people. Islamic State fighters claimed responsibility for that bombing.
Peshwar, located on the edge of Pakistan’s tribal districts bordering Afghanistan, is frequently the target of militant groups, including the Pakistani Taliban.
The group, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is an umbrella of Sunni Muslim groups and sects that want to overthrow the government and replace it with their own brand of Islamic governance.
The TTP has stepped up attacks since it terminated a so-called peace deal last year with the Pakistani government, facilitated by the Afghan Taliban.
The TTP has staged regular attacks on police over the past few months. In December, Islamist militants seized a counter-terrorism center in the northwest and took hostages to negotiate with authorities.