Peshawar (Allbanaadir Media) – A massive explosion ripped through a mosque in northwest Pakistan on Monday, killing at least 34 people and injuring over 150 others who gathered to pray, officials said.
The early morning attack in the city of Peshawar, the capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, was reportedly carried out by a suicide bomber who blew himself up in the center of the mosque.
The death toll was confirmed by Deputy Inspector General of Police Shaficullah Khan on state television, with the possibility of more casualties.
According to Reuters, citing a government source, the attack resulted in 30 deaths and 150 injuries, with the majority being police officers. Hospitals in the city reported receiving hundreds of injured, with some in critical condition.
Eyewitnesses and rescue workers reported that the power of the explosion caused the roof of the mosque to collapse. Police have yet to comment on the type of attack as they continue to investigate.
The mosque was frequently attended by security and government officials. The head of police in Peshawar, Ijaz Khan, stated that the mosque was located near the central police station of the province and the counter-terrorism department.
He also said that the possibility of a suicide bomber could not be ruled out and that evidence of explosives was found inside the mosque.
A police officer, Sikandar Khan, reported that the mosque was heavily guarded and had at least 260 people inside at the time of the attack.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif condemned the suicide attack in a statement.
No group has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack yet. However, previous attacks in the city were mostly carried out by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistan Taliban.
Militants have targeted Peshawar in the past due to its proximity to the semi-autonomous tribal regions along the Afghan border, which has been a hotbed of terrorist activity.
Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistan Taliban, is a militant extremist group operating in the region and is responsible for numerous acts of terror in the country. The group was formed in 2007 and is primarily based in the tribal areas along the Afghan border.
The group has been responsible for numerous suicide attacks, bombings, and targeted assassinations in the country and aims to establish a strict Islamic State in Pakistan.