Dozens of people have been killed in an alleged attack on a mosque in Pakistan. According to a police spokesman, there are at least 27 dead and more than 140 injured. Several of them were taken to hospitals in critical condition. “More and more bodies are coming in,” said a hospital spokesman. The explosion happened during midday prayers in the major city of Peshawar, in the north-west of the country. The mosque is in a building that also houses the provincial police headquarters and a counter-terrorism department, Peshawar police chief Ijaz Khan said.
A journalist from the AFP news agency reported on emergency services carrying the dead into an ambulance. Accordingly, the roof and walls of the mosque have partially collapsed. According to the police, many believers were still trapped in the building. Heavy machinery and firefighters searched the rubble for survivors.
According to the police, the explosion occurred in the second row of believers. Bomb experts are now examining the assumption that it could have been a suicide attack.
Background still unclear
At first it was unclear who was responsible. In March, a suicide bomber from the jihadist militia “Islamic State” (IS) carried out an attack on a mosque belonging to the Shiite minority in Peshawar, killing 64 people. It was the most devastating attack in Pakistan since 2018. The Pakistani branch of the radical Islamic Taliban, which operates under the name Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is also active in the region. In Peshawar, TTP fighters carried out a massacre in 2014: They raided a school looking for children of army personnel and killed almost 150 people, most of whom were schoolchildren.
cwo/ste (dpa, afp, rtr)