An explosion occurred in the city of Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan on January 30. It was probably a suicide attack, according to CNN.
Peshawar Deputy Commissioner Shafiullah Khan said the powerful explosion killed at least 34 people. Hospital officials say at least 150 people were injured, many of them in critical condition.
More than 300 worshipers were praying inside the mosque when a bomber blew up an explosive vest. Many were injured when the roof collapsed, reports Washington Post.
Most of the victims are police officers. It is not clear how the terrorist managed to slip into the walled complex that houses the police headquarters of the northwestern city of Peshawar and is itself in a high-security zone with other government buildings.
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Currently, the mosque, which is located on the territory of the police station in the city, is being rescued. They are mainly attended by law enforcement officers.
Sarbakaf Mohmand, a Pakistani Taliban commander, claimed responsibility for the attack.
The militant group, also known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, has been leading an insurgency in Pakistan for the past 15 years. It is seeking stricter enforcement of Islamic law, the release of its members who are in custody, and a reduction in the Pakistani military presence in areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that the militants have long used as their base.
The group is separate from, but a close ally of, the Afghan Taliban, who seized power in neighboring Afghanistan in August 2021 when US and NATO troops withdrew from the country after 20 years of war.
The militants said the suicide bomber carried out the attack to avenge the killing of Abdul Wali, commonly known as Omar Khalid Khurasani, who was killed in the neighboring Afghan province of Paktika in August 2022.
Mina Gul, who was inside the mosque when the bomb exploded, said he did not know how he managed to stay unharmed. The 38-year-old policeman said he heard after the bomb went off.
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Siddiq Khan, a police officer, said Nur-ul-Amin, who led the prayer, was among the dead. According to him, the attacker blew himself up while among the believers.
Peshawar Police Chief Mohammad Aijaz Khan said the explosion at Police Lines Mosque was "probably a suicide attack," echoing Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif's words.
“The brutal killing of Muslims prostrating before Allah is contrary to the teachings of the Quran,” Sharif said, adding that “hitting the House of Allah is proof that the attackers have nothing to do with Islam.”
“The terrorists want to create fear by targeting those who have the duty to protect Pakistan,” the prime minister continued.
“Those who fight against Pakistan will be wiped off the face of the earth,” he said.
Sharif went on to say that "the entire nation and institutions have come together to end terrorism" and that a "comprehensive strategy" is under development to restore law and order in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where Peshawar is located.
Former Pakistani leader Imran Khan, whose Pakistan Tehreek and Insaaf party supports the Khyber Pakhtunkwa provincial government, also condemned the explosion, stating on Twitter that "it is vital to improve intelligence gathering and properly prepare our police forces to deal with the growing threat of terrorism." ".
Cash-strapped Pakistan is now facing a severe economic crisis and is demanding a critical $1,1 billion contribution from the International Monetary Fund - part of its $6 billion bailout package - to avoid a default. Negotiations with the IMF to resume bailouts have stalled in recent months.
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Sharif's government came to power last April after Imran Khan was ousted in a vote of no confidence in parliament. Khan has since campaigned for an early election, arguing that his overthrow was illegal and part of a conspiracy backed by the United States. Washington and Sharif denied these accusations.
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