Blast at mosque in Pakistan’s Peshawar kills at least 47 people
More than 40 people have been killed and about 150 others wounded in a suicide bomb attack targeting police at a mosque in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, according to officials.
Sarbakaf Mohmand, a commander for the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter. The main spokesman for the militant group was not immediately available for comment.
Earlier, a Lady Reading Hospital spokesperson in Peshawar, Muhammed Asim, told Al Jazeera at least 32 people were killed and more than 70 injured people were brought in for treatment. A Peshawar police official told Al Jazeera about 150 people were wounded in total.
Siddique Khan, another police official, said the attacker blew himself up while among the worshippers.
The mosque is inside a highly fortified compound that includes the headquarters of the provincial police force and a counter-terrorism department.
Authorities said part of the building collapsed and that many people were feared to be trapped under the rubble.
Peshawar’s police chief, Muhammad Ijaz Khan, 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.
The mosque is within Peshawar’s Police Lines, which is part of the city’s red zone where a number of important government installations are, including the Chief Minister’s House, Governor’s House, and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly building.
Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said that “the suicide bomber was reportedly sitting in the front row of the congregational prayers inside the mosque”.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the bombing in a statement and ordered authorities to ensure the best possible medical treatment for the victims. He promised “stern action” against those behind the attack. -Al Jazeera & News Agencies