Kabul: At least 28 people were killed and more than 140 others were injured after a suicide bomber blew himself up at a mosque in Peshawar’s Police Lines during afternoon prayers on Monday.
Security officials, confirming that it was a suicide attack, said the bomber was standing in the front row at the time of the explosion.
The building is located inside a highly fortified compound that includes the headquarters of the provincial police force and a counter-terrorism department.
Confirming the number of casualties, Peshawar’s police chief, Mohammad Aijaz said some victims were still trapped under the rubble, adding that the roof and part of the mosque’s wall collapsed following the explosion.
He said in a televised statement that the capacity of the main hall of the mosque was nearly 300 and it was “nearly full” at the time of the explosion.
A spokesperson for Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital, Mohammad Asim, confirmed that dozens of injured have been brought to the medical facility.
He added that the injured included police officials. “Some of the injured are in critical condition but most are stable,” said the hospital spokesperson, adding that more injured are being shifted to the hospital. The hospital also issued an appeal for blood donations.
Following the bombing, the provincial health department declared an emergency in district Peshawar and asked all medical personnel to remain on duty.
Peshawar, the capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan, has experienced frequent attacks.
Last March, a suicide bomber attacked a mosque in Peshawar, killing 64 in Pakistan’s deadliest terror attack since 2018. The Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K) claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Pakistan has seen a surge in violence during the last year, with numerous attacks on law enforcement officials, particularly in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as well as southern province of Balochistan.