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Death toll in Pakistan mosque attack rises to 83

At least 83 people have been killed and 57 injured after a suicide bomber struck a mosque in Pakistan.

The bomber detonated his suicide vest as a large number of worshipers – including many policemen from nearby police offices – were praying inside.

Local police officer Zafar Khan said the impact of the explosion caused the roof of the mosque to cave in, injuring dozens.

Officials initially said at least 59 people were killed. A hospital spokesperson later confirmed the death toll had risen to 83.

Workers and volunteers carry an injured victim to a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing in Peshawar, the capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan, local police said.

Local media published a photograph showing people gathering around the collapsed wall of the mosque.

One survivor, 38-year-old police officer Meena Gul, said he was inside the mosque during the blast, and that he did not know how he survived unhurt.

More on Pakistan

Ambulances transport wounded people from the bomb explosion site in Peshawar
Ambulances transport wounded people from the bomb explosion site in Peshawar
Army soldiers and police officers clear the way for ambulances rushing towards the bomb explosion site

He said he could hear cries and screams after the bomb exploded, adding there were more than 150 worshippers inside the mosque when the bomb went off.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif condemned the bombing in a statement, before ordering authorities to ensure the best possible medical treatment for the victims.

He also vowed “stern action” against the perpetrators.

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan described the bombing as a “terrorist suicide attack”.

“My prayers & condolences go to victims families,” the ex-premier said on Twitter.

“It is imperative we improve our intelligence gathering & properly equip our police forces to combat the growing threat of terrorism.”

The Pakistani Taliban is usually suspected of such attacks in the country, after claiming similar bombings in the past.

Known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, the Pakistani Taliban are a separate group but also a close ally of the Afghan Taliban, who seized power in neighbouring Afghanistan in August 2021 as US and NATO troops were in the final stages of their withdrawal from the country after 20 years of war.

Men move an injured victim, after a suicide blast in a mosque, at hospital premises in Peshawar, Pakistan January 30, 2023. REUTERS/Khuram Parvez
People move an injured victim following the blast

The group has waged an insurgency in Pakistan over the past 15 years, fighting for stricter enforcement of Islamic laws, the release of their members who are in government custody, along with a reduction of Pakistani military presence in the country’s former tribal regions.


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