56 Killed, Around 200 Injured in Suicide Blast in A Peshawar Mosque


Ambulances taking the injured to Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar. — DawnNewsTV

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast

Team Clarion

PESHAWAR — A suicide blast inside a Shia mosque shook Peshawar’s Kocha Risaldar area on Friday, with officials saying that at least 56 people were killed and around 200 were injured.

Mohammad Asim, a spokesperson for local Lady Reading Hospital (LRH), confirmed the casualties, adding that some of the injured were in critical condition, reports Dawn.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast in Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa which borders Afghanistan.

Officials, who termed the incident a suicide attack, initially said that two attackers were involved. However, CCTV footage released later in the day showed a lone attacker clad in a black shalwar kameez reaching the mosque in the city’s Qissa Khwani Bazaar on foot and brandishing a pistol.

He opened fired on police personnel deployed outside the main entrance for security before running inside. The attacker also opened fire on a man who tried to stop him and managed to enter the mosque, where worshippers had gathered for Friday prayers, after which an explosion took place.

Speaking to the media, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Inspector General of Police Moazzam Jah Ansari said two police officials were deputed at the mosque for security.

He said that one constable was martyred, while another police official was in critical condition. According to the Dawn report, the senior police officer said that around five to six kilogrammes of explosive material was used, adding that there were no prior reports about the attack.

Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Peshawar Mohammad Ijaz Khan confirmed the chain of events, adding that one police official was martyred in the gunfight outside the mosque.

However, talking to media at the site of the blast Peshawar SSP Operations Haroon Rasheed Khan said that two policemen had been martyred in the attack. He termed the explosion a suicide blast and said there was no “threat alert”.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government spokesman Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif said security was provided to mosques as a “general rule”. He added that the administration had adopted security measures at this mosque as well, adding that such measures were always ensured during congregation prayers on Fridays.

“Those martyred and injured in the attack would be given monetary assistance under the government’s special package,” he said.

Shayan Haider, who is a witness of the unfortunate incident, had been preparing to enter the mosque when a powerful explosion threw him to the street. “I opened my eyes and there was dust and bodies everywhere,” he said.

There was chaos at the LRH emergency department as doctors struggled to move the many wounded into operating theatres. The hospital was put on red alert and more medical personnel were called to LRH, the spokesperson added.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan strongly condemned the attack and directed provision of immediate medical treatment to the injured, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement.

Pakistan President Dr Arif Alvi also condemned the incident in a statement and expressed grief over the precious lives lost.

Senior ministers including Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Opposition leaders also condemned the brutal attack on worshippers and offered condolences to the bereaved families.

— With inputs from local media


Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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