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Home Feeds Peshawar mosque blast leaves dozens dead in northwestern Pakistan

Peshawar mosque blast leaves dozens dead in northwestern Pakistan


PESHAWAR, Pakistan — An explosion ripped through a mosque in a police compound in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, bringing down the roof and killing at least 32 people, according to a hospital.

Muhammad Asim, a spokesman for the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, said there were at least 32 dead and 147 wounded, mostly policemen, and the toll is expected to rise as rescuers work through the mosque debris.

Police officials have not yet determined whether it was a suicide attack or the explosives were planted. “The rescue teams are busy in removing the debris. Once the debris is removed, then we would be in a position to say whether it was a suicide or not,” said Alam Khan, a spokesman for the Peshawar police.

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The explosion went off during afternoon prayers in the mosque while at least 150 people were inside.

“We were lined up for the afternoon prayer and as the prayer leader said ‘Allaho Akbar’ a huge blast took place. Nothing was clear and visible as part of the roof of the mosque collapsed,” police inspector Mushtaq Khan said by telephone from the hospital.

The attackers behind the incident “have nothing to do with Islam,” said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in a statement strongly condemning the blast. “Terrorists want to create fear by targeting those who perform the duty of defending Pakistan.”

He added that a comprehensive strategy would be adopted to counter the deteriorating law and order situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, of which Peshawar is the capital. The federal government will help provinces in increasing their anti-terrorism capacity, Shehbaz said.

The Capital City Police compound in Peshawar is a high-security zone in this provincial capital near the border with Afghanistan and is close to the courts, provincial assembly, army barracks, governor’s house and chief minister’s residence.

The compound includes the headquarters for the counterterrorism and investigations departments.

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Past attacks in the northwestern region of Pakistan have been carried out by the country’s own Taliban movement, which is separate from the group now controlling neighboring Afghanistan.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Pakistani Taliban, or Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, has conducted nearly 1,800 attacks in the country against both civilians and military targets over the past decade and is believed to have been emboldened by the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.