Dozens Killed, 200 Hurt in Mosque Bombing

'Dust and bodies everywhere' as people gathered for prayers in Peshawar, Pakistan
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 4, 2022 11:38 AM CST
Dozens Killed, 200 Hurt in Mosque Bombing
An injured man is taken from the site of a bomb explosion at a Shiite mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Friday.   (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)

A suicide bomber struck inside a Shiite Muslim mosque in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar during Friday prayers, killing at least 56 worshippers and wounding about 200 others, hospital officials said. No militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Both the Islamic State group and the Pakistani Taliban—a militant group separate from the Taliban in Afghanistan—have carried out similar attacks in the area, located near the border with neighboring Afghanistan, per the AP. Scores of victims were peppered with shrapnel, several had limbs amputated, and others were injured by flying debris.

Peshawar Police Chief Muhammad Ejaz Khan said the violence started when an armed attacker opened fire on police outside the mosque in Peshawar's old city. The attacker then ran inside the mosque and detonated his suicide vest. The suicide bomber had strapped a powerful explosive device to his body, packed with 12 pounds of explosives, said Moazzam Jah Ansari, the top police official for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, of which Peshawar is the capital. The device was hidden beneath a large black shawl that covered much of his body, as seen on CCTV footage reviewed by the AP. “I opened my eyes and there was dust and bodies everywhere,” one witness knocked to the ground by the blast tells the AP.

Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the bombing. His national security adviser, Moeed Yusuf, said the bombing was a “heinous terrorist attack" and promised that those behind the carnage would be brought to justice. In majority Sunni Pakistan, minority Shiites have come under repeated attacks. Also, in recent months, the country has experienced a significant increase of violence and dozens of military personnel have been killed in scores of attacks on army outposts along the border with Afghanistan. Many attacks have been claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, who analysts say have been emboldened by the Afghan Taliban seizing power last August in Afghanistan.

(More Pakistan stories.)

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