In the Pakistani city of Peshawar's security compound, a mosque was the target of a suicide bombing that killed and injured hundreds of people, according to a medical official.
The mosque is located within Peshawar's Police Lines, which houses the police department's administrative offices and counterterrorism and intelligence agencies. The region is a part of the city's red zone and contains a number of significant governmental buildings, including the provincial assembly building and homes of top officials.
Muhammed Asim, a spokesman for the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, reported that the explosion resulted in at least 59 fatalities and 157 injuries.
The first people to die during the bombing were the police officers present on scene trying to protect muslim worshippers praying at the mosque.
The PM sheriff declared that the attack's perpetrators "had nothing to do with Islam.” He continued explaining that the entire country is "standing united against" the scourge of terrorism.”
Police officer Siddique Khan, asserted that the perpetrator intentionally detonated his bomb as he was among the muslim worshippers. Sarbakaf Mohmand, a commander for the Pakistani Taliban, previously claimed responsibility for the bombing, however a Taliban spokesperson defended the organisation arguing that religious bombins are not within their policy.
Attacks on police have grown in Pakistan over the past year, especially in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region and the southern province of Balochistan. The Taliban which has been fighting Pakistan for more than ten years, unilaterally ended a truce with the Pakistani government in November of last year.
As the Taliban violated the peace agreement, members attacked a police station killing 33 militants in December 2022. Muhammad Ijaz Khan, the chief of Peshawar's police, spoke to the local media stating that between 300 and 400 police personnel were present at the time.
The explosion of the Peshawar mosque occurred at 13:30 (08:30 GMT) during afternoon prayers in the city in Pakistan's northwest, not far from the country's border with Afghanistan.
A video shared by BBC shows a wall collapsing in half. People evacuated from the mosque by scrambling over the mess of scattered bricks and debris. Authorities reported that several people were buried beneath the debris due to the portion of the structure falling.
Peshawar's police chief Muhammad Ijaz Khan stated that the main hall of the mosque, which is able to hold 300 people, was nearly full at the time of the bomb. More bodies are being removed from the mosque while the rescue effort goes on, according to Shafiullah Khan, deputy commissioner. Khan went on to say that saving lives of those trapped under the rubble is their top concern.
The incident at the mosque occurred at the start of a significant week for Pakistani diplomacy. The prime minister is planning an urgent trip to Peshawar where he will meet with injured victims and receive an update from local authorities.
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