PESHAWAR: At least 56 worshipers embraced martyrdom while above 194 others sustained injuries in a suicide bomb blast inside a mosque in Peshawar’s Kocha Risaldar area during the Friday prayers.
Police and rescue personnel reached the blast site soon after the explosion and shifted the victims to Lady Reading Hospital (LRH).
An LRH spokesperson confirmed the death toll, adding that most of the injured suffered injuries in the upper parts of their bodies.
According to eyewitnesses, the powerful explosion took place during the prayers near the pulpit.
In a statement to the media, Advisor to KP Chief Minister Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif said that the explosion took place during Friday prayers.
He said that reportedly the terrorists first tried to enter the mosque where they exchanged fire with the police.
He said that a terrorist managed to enter the mosque and carried out the attack.
Peshawar SSP Operations Haroon Al-Rasheed talking to reporters said that apparently it was a suicide attack.
“There were two security personnel deputed at the entrance of the mosque who martyred in gunfire with the lone terrorist. The bomber exploded himself inside the mosque.”
Sharing the horrific details of the attack, an eyewitness told that a person dressed in black entered the mosque and exploded himself after killing the security guard.
“After that, he quickly entered the [mosque’s] main hall and blew himself up in front of the pulpit. Following this, there were bodies and injured people lying everywhere,” he said.
“The hall was filled with people; they were on the bottom and top floors; the incident took place at 12:55pm.”
He said the people took the injured worshipers to the hospital via motorcycles as rescue workers faced hindrances while arriving at the site due to congested alleys.
The man claimed recently a hand grenade attack targeted a house in the area, after which residents had urged the authorities to beef up security. “But still, it did not happen […] the security has been reduced.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan has condemned the deadly attack on the mosque and ordered efforts to provide immediate medical aid for the wounded.
The premier also sought a report on the blast from the authorities concerned.
KP CM Mahmood Khan, too, condemned the blast and sought a report from the police chief.
The chief minister instructed the rescue workers to speed up the rescue operation and ordered provincial cabinet members to monitor the operations.