No One Knows How Attacker Got So Deep in Cop Compound

Death toll in suicide bombing at mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan, rises to 83
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 30, 2023 7:53 AM CST
Updated Jan 31, 2023 12:03 AM CST
Dozens Dead in Mosque Suicide Bombing
Workers and volunteers unload an injured victim of a suicide bombing from an ambulance upon arrival at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Monday.   (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)
UPDATE Jan 31, 2023 12:03 AM CST

A Pakistani hospital spokesman says the death toll from Monday's suicide bombing at a mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar has risen to 83, the AP reports. Mohammad Asim, the spokesman, says more bodies were retrieved from the rubble of the mosque overnight and early on Tuesday, and several of those critically injured died in hospital. “Most of them were policemen,” Asim said of the victims. Bilal Faizi, the chief rescue official, said rescue teams are still carefully removing the rubble at the site of the mosque—located inside a police compound in a high security zone of the city—as more people are believed trapped inside after the roof caved in from the explosion. He said the bombing also wounded more than 150 people.

Jan 30, 2023 7:53 AM CST

A suicide bomber struck Monday inside a mosque within a police compound in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, killing at least 28 people and wounding as many as 150 worshippers, most of them policemen, officials said. The bombing drew nationwide condemnation from opposition political parties and government officials. Ghulam Ali, the provincial governor in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where Peshawar is the capital, said there were fears the death toll could rise even further, per the AP. Most of the casualties were police officers—the targeted mosque is located within a sprawling compound, which also serves as the city's police headquarters. Police said between 300 to 350 worshippers were inside the mosque when the bomber detonated his explosives.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, per a senior police official in Peshawar, but the Pakistani Taliban have been blamed in similar suicide attacks in the past. The police compound is located in a high-security zone in Peshawar, along with several government buildings, and it was unclear how the bomber managed to penetrate so deep inside the zone unnoticed. The impact of the explosion collapsed the roof of the mosque, which caved in and injured many, according to a local police officer. Rescuers scrambled in trying to remove mounds of debris from the mosque grounds and get to worshippers still trapped under the rubble, police said. At a nearby hospital, many of the wounded were listed in critical condition as the casualty toll rose.

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in a statement condemned the bombing and vowed "stern action" against those who were behind the attack. Peshawar has been the scene of frequent militant attacks. The Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, are a separate group but also a close ally of the Afghan Taliban, who seized power in neighboring Afghanistan in August 2021. The TTP has waged an insurgency in Pakistan over the past 15 years, fighting for stricter enforcement of Islamic laws in the country, the release of their members who are in government custody, and a reduction of the Pakistani military presence in the country's former tribal regions. Pakistan has witnessed a surge in militant attacks since November, when the Pakistani Taliban ended their ceasefire with government forces.

(More Pakistan stories.)

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