61 dead, of which 27 were police officers, and 170 injured, many in serious condition (updated information)
A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a crowded mosque in a heavily fortified security complex in Pakistan on Monday, killing 61 people, including 27 police.
This was the latest in a series of attacks against the police that have been perpetrated. The attacker, according to Reuters news, appears to have passed through several barricades maintained by security forces to enter the complex of “Red Zone” which houses police and counterterrorism offices in the volatile northwest city of Peshawar, police said.
“It was a suicide bombing’ said the Peshawar police chief, Ijaz Khan, told Reuters. He said the mosque’s hall was packed with nearly 400 worshipers at the time of the attack, also noting that many of the 170 wounded were in critical condition.
The death toll rose to 59 after several people succumbed to their injuries, hospital official Mohammad Asim said in a statement. Police said 27 of those killed were police officers.
THE Taliban place known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistanan umbrella group of Sunni and sectarian militant groups, has denied responsibility.
The suicide bomber detonated his charge as hundreds of people lined up to say their prayers, officials said.
“We found traces of explosives“, said khan told reporters, adding that a security breach clearly occurred as the suicide bomber passed through the most secure area of the compound.
An investigation was underway into how the attacker breached an elite security cordon and whether there was any insider help.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, the worst in Peshawar since March 2022when an Islamic State suicide bombing killed at least 58 people at a Shiite Muslim mosque during Friday prayers.
Peshawar, which straddles Pakistan’s tribal districts bordering Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, is frequently targeted by Islamist militant groups, including the Islamic State and the Pakistani Taliban.
“Tehreek-e-Taliban has nothing to do with this attack“, TTP said in a statement.
The attack took place the day before a mission by the International Monetary Fund The Islamabad to start negotiations on unlocking funds for the economy of the South Asian country, which is experiencing a balance of payments crisis.