At least 44 people died and about 150 were injured on Monday (30/01) during a suicide bomb attack on a crowded mosque, in a police compound in the city of Peshawar, northwest of Pakistan. Most of the victims were police officers.

The attack took place around noon (0400 GMT) at a mosque in a police residential and training center, which explains the large number of casualties within the corporation, according to the governor of Peshawar, Riaz Mehsud.

It was unclear how the suicide bomber managed to get into the walled compound, which houses the municipal police headquarters and is located in a high-security zone along with other government buildings.

Peshawar Police Chief Ijaz Khan said at least 150 people were injured. A nearby hospital listed many of the injured as in critical condition, raising fears of a rising death toll.

full mosque

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the “brutal murder of Muslims while praying before Allah”.

More than 300 worshipers were praying at the mosque when the suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest. Defense Minister Khawaja Asif said the suicide bomber was in the front row of the temple during prayers.

Several were injured when the roof collapsed, according to a local police officer. Rescuers struggled to remove mounds of rubble in order to reach worshipers still trapped under the rubble, according to police.

Taliban claims responsibility

On Twitter, Sarbakaf Mohmand, commander of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Pakistan, with a Sunni Muslim majority, has seen a rise in militant attacks since November, when the Pakistani Taliban lifted its ceasefire with government forces.

Monday’s attack on a Sunni mosque was one of the deadliest attacks on security forces in recent years. The last attack on a religious center in Pakistan took place in the same city of Peshawar: in March 2022, a suicide bomber detonated himself in a mosque belonging to the Shiite minority, leaving 56 dead and almost 200 injured.

Terrorist attacks in Pakistan have increased in recent months after several years of relative calm, largely due to the resurgence of the main Pakistani Taliban group, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or Pakistan Taliban Movement.

The organization, an umbrella group of tribal armed groups created in 2007 and allied with the Afghan Taliban, stepped up attacks after the end of a ceasefire with the government in November 2022.

Attacks killed thousands

Since its formation, the group has carried out a brutal campaign of terrorist attacks across the country and has killed thousands, including numerous members of the security forces. He also tried to assassinate Malala Yousafzai, the young woman who would go on to win the Nobel Prize in 2012.

The jihadist group Islamic State (IS) has also carried out attacks in the past in Pakistan, one of the worst in 2018 targeting a rally in Balochistan that left 128 people dead and 122 injured.

Attacks began to decline in 2014 following an intensified crackdown by Pakistani authorities, but signs of a resurgence are becoming clearer after the Taliban regains power in Afghanistan in August 2021.


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