At least 56 people were killed and 200 injured, including children, in a suicide bomb attack in the Kocha Risaldar neighborhood of Peshawar, Aaj News reported Friday. Reports say the blast took place at a mosque near the imambargh during the Friday prayer period.
Witnesses said gunshots could be heard before the explosion. According to Peshawar police, two men attempted to enter a mosque and fired on security personnel standing guard. As a result, one policeman was martyred while the other was injured. Following this, one of the attackers blew himself up.
Speaking to the media, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) government spokesman, lawyer Mohammad Ali Saif first said that at least 30 people were killed in the suicide bombing. However, the spokesman later said the death toll had risen to 56 and 200 injured had already been hospitalized.
Kocha Risaldar is near Qissa Khawni Bazar, where several terrorist incidents have occurred in the past.
Prime Minister says government has information on ‘origin of terrorists’
In a belated development after the bomb blast, Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a tweet that he was monitoring operations and coordinating with the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) and intelligence agencies.
“Have personally monitored operations and coordinated with CTD and agencies following the cowardly terror attack on Peshawar Imambargah,” the Prime Minister said on Twitter.
“We now have all the information about the origin of the terrorists and we are pursuing them with all their might,” he added.
At least three dead and 18 injured in explosion on Quetta’s Fatima Jinnah Road
Earlier, police and rescue teams arrived at the scene shortly after the incident and transferred the injured to Lady Reading Hospital. A Lady Reading official said earlier that 30 bodies had been taken to hospital so far.
Preliminary investigations indicated that five to six kilograms of explosives were used, which resulted in the high intensity of the explosion.
KPK CM convenes an emergency meeting
Meanwhile, KPK Chief Minister Mahmood Khan also called a meeting on security.
The KPK IGP, Chief Secretary, Home Minister and other provincial officials were also expected to attend the meeting to discuss the peace and security situation in the province.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister strongly condemned the terrorist attack and also demanded a detailed report.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid also condemned the attack, saying he had ordered the province’s general secretary and police inspector general to submit a report. He added that this attack is an attempt to destabilize Pakistan as part of a planned plot.
“Heartbreaking terrorist incident in Peshawar in which so many precious lives were lost. Words cannot adequately condemn the sheer brutality,” Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Chairman Shehbaz Sharif tweeted.
Increase in attacks
Pakistan has seen an increase in attacks in recent months, with several terrorism-related incidents being reported.
On Wednesday, at least three police officers were killed and 18 people injured in an explosion on Fatima Jinnah Road in Quetta.
The explosion occurred near a mobile police station.
Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo strongly condemned the incident.
“Cowardly terrorists targeted innocent citizens in a terrorist attack,” he said in a statement.
“Efforts are being made to disrupt the peace in Quetta and the province as part of a planned and well thought out plot.”