At least 63 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a crowded mosque in northwest Pakistan’s Peshawar city. A further 150 people were injured inside the Police Lines compound on Monday 30th January 2023.
According to GeoNews Pakistan, the attacker was partaking in the Muslim Mid-day Prayer, seemingly pretending to pray along with the crowd when he suddenly exploded himself. The Imam, who leads the prayer, Sahibzada Noor Ul Amin, was also killed.
One of the commanders of the Pakistan Taliban (Tehreek-e-Talibaan or TTP) known as Sarbakaf Mohmand, initially claimed responsibility for the attack on twitter whose account was later suspended.
However, according to Al-Jazeera, the TTP spokesperson stated that it was against their policy to target religious places but failed to address why their commander had claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Pakistan’s prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was reported visiting the city of Peshawar and even met the injured at the Lady Reading Hospital accompanied by his comrades.
According to Press TV, several policemen were trapped under the rubble as Peshawar police chief Muhammad Ijaz Khan estimated that 300 to 400 police were frequent attendees of the mosque that was targeted earlier today. Efforts to release them to safety were underway.
Survivors drenched in blood were captured limping from injuries while bodies were quickly transported in ambulances as the rescue operations continued. However, the police said that the death toll may rise due to the number of people crushed underneath the debris. Residents and security officers were videoed carrying the injured on their shoulders and rushing them to the hospital.
The notorious TTP militants who are speculated as the ones to carry out this attack have previously wreaked havoc in Pakistan. They have conducted several killings in the last few years, the most atrocious one being an attack on a Peshawar school in 2014, where hundreds of children were killed. It later became one of the deadliest attacks in the country’s history.
Geo TV further reported that the funeral prayer of 27 martyrs was held in the presence of Corp Commander Peshawar, IG Police, and Commandant Frontier Corps. An eyewitness told the media that he was going to the mosque when the explosion took place.
120 people were estimated to be inside the mosque when the attack took place. President of the Civil Secretariat Association Peshawar Tassavur Iqbal, a regular worshiper at the mosque, stated that the Police Lines area’s security is tight, and identity-showing and body-searching was part of the security’s protocol. “This is an unfortunate incident that took place here today. This is a big mosque and 400-500 people can offer prayer at a time. We are hearing that the building collapsed after the blast,” said Iqbal.
The news report from Geo News even mentioned how Journalist Qaiser further elaborated on the security measures within the area, he said,”The offices of KP’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) and police investigation department are situated here. Usually, 1,000 police personnel are present at the police headquarters,” he added. “The bomber was able to sneak inside after passing through checking three times,” said the journalist.
PM Shehbaz Sharif condemned the blast citing that an attack inside the mosque shows that the preparators have “nothing to do with Islam.”
“These terrorists are trying to instill fear by targeting those who perform the duty of defending Pakistan,” he said, assuring the people that the coalition government will take strict action against those involved.
Strongly condemn the terrorist suicide attack in police lines mosque Peshawar during prayers. My prayers & condolences go to victims families. It is imperative we improve our intelligence gathering & properly equip our police forces to combat the growing threat of terrorism.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) January 30, 2023
Former prime minister Imran Khan and chairman of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf took to twitter to condemn the attack saying, ‘[I] strongly condemn the terrorist suicide attack in Police Lines mosque Peshawar during prayers. My prayers & condolences go to the victims’ families. It is imperative we improve our intelligence gathering & properly equip our police forces to combat the growing threat of terrorism.’’
As the attacks on the Southern Asian Muslim Majority country intensify post United States withdrawal in Afghanistan, including the terror attacks within neighboring Iran by foreign backed rioters, terror organizations in cohorts with foreign powers have made their motives clear: despite claiming to be followers of the same religion, they carry out heinous acts on Muslims within the mosque’s sacred walls.
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