A powerful bomb blast took place inside a Shitte Muslim mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar in Pakistan on Friday. The blast claimed at least 45 worshippers’ lives, injuring around 65 others, of whom many are in critical situations, as police said.
As per the statement released by Peshawar Police Chief Muhammed Ejaz Khan, “The violence erupted when two gunmen opened fire on police personnel outside the mosque in Peshawar city. The gunfire claimed the lives of one attacker and one police official, and another police official was injured in the gunfight. The remaining gunmen then ran inside the mosque and detonated an explosion.
According to the statement released by one of the local police officials, Waheed Khan, “The blast took place as worshippers had gathered in the Kucha Risaldar mosque for Friday prayers. He said that the death toll would likely increase as many of the injured are in critical condition.
Witnesses revealed that almost 150 worshippers inside the mosque offered prayers at the explosion. At the same time, ambulances were trying to reach hospitals via congested narrow streets.
No group has yet claimed any responsibility for the blast. But several reports reveal that, both the Islamic State group and a violent Pakistani Taliban organization has carried out the same attacks in the region, located near the border with neighbouring Afghanistan.
One of the witnesses, Shayan Haider, had been preparing to enter the mosque when a powerful explosion threw him to the street. He stated, “I opened my eyes, and there was nothing but dust and bodies all around.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has condemned the explosion.
In the past several months, Pakistan has witnessed a wide increase in violence. Dozens of military personnel have become the victim of the attacks on army outposts along the border with Afghanistan.
At the same time, Pakistan has urged Afghanistan’s new rulers to hand over Pakistani Taliban insurgents targeting Afghanistan. Afghanistan Taliban say their territory will not be used to stage attacks against anyone, but they have not handed over any Pakistani insurgents until now.