Islamic State claims responsibility for bomb blast at Shiite mosque in Peshawar

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The Islamic State (ISIS) has claims responsible for the deadly bomb blast inside a Shiite mosque in Peshawar. During Friday prayers, a bomb exploded, killing at least 56 people and injuring nearly 200 others. It is one of the bloodiest attacks in Pakistan.

The Islamic State’s regional unit, Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K, claimed responsibility for the attack, according to an Islamic State statement. According to the statement, the explosion was carried out by an Afghan suicide bomber.

Authorities said at least one assailant on a motorbike shot two police officers before entering the mosque and detonating what appeared to be a suicide vest.

The blast occurred during Friday prayers at a Shia mosque in the Qisa Khwani locality of Peshawar.

Sheikh Rashid, Pakistan’s interior minister, said the intelligence agency had not issued an alert or instruction that the attack was launched from abroad. He did not mention any country or group. However, he said it was a big plot to destabilize Pakistan.

The devastating attack happened on the opening day of a Test cricket match between Pakistan and Australia in Rawalpindi, 190 kilometers to the east. For the first time in 24 years, the Australian cricket team is in Pakistan. The Australian team was reluctant to travel to Pakistan for the bilateral series, but agreed when Pakistan said they were ready for ‘anything’.

Sources said Australian team officials were following the matter closely and communicating with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Australian squad are in Islamabad for the current test match in Rawalpindi, and they enjoy presidential-level protection for the entire tour. The remaining matches in the series will be played in Lahore and Karachi.

Following an attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009, international cricket in Pakistan was halted for a decade.

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