An explosion in a mosque in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar killed at least 25 worshippers and wounded dozens more in on Monday.
Deputy Commissioner Shafiullah Khan told the media that 25 people were killed and 120 others injured in the powerful blast.
Many of the casualties were police officers who had gathered for daily Duhr prayers, as the mosque was located close to a police housing block, hospital officials said.
Some 260 people inside when the blast occurred, according to police.
“A portion of the building had collapsed and several people are believed to be under it,” police official Sikandar Khan told Reuters news agency.
A local police officer Zafar Khan told AFP that the attack was caused by a bomb, adding that the impact of the explosion collapsed the roof of the mosque and injured many.
Meena Gul, a police officer, said he was inside the mosque when the bomb went off. He said he did not know how he survived unhurt. Gul could hear cries and screams after the bomb exploded.
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reported that said details were emerging that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.
“We are also getting details … the suicide bomber himself was sitting in the front row of the congregational prayer inside the mosque,” Al-Jazeera correspondent in Islamabad Kamal Hyder added.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing but the Pakistani Taliban have been blamed in similar suicide attacks in the past.
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan took to twitter to condemn the attack, calling for exerting efforts in order to confront terrorism.
Strongly condemn the terrorist suicide attack in police lines mosque Peshawar during prayers. My prayers & condolences go to victims families. It is imperative we improve our intelligence gathering & properly equip our police forces to combat the growing threat of terrorism.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) January 30, 2023