17 killed in blast at Police Lines mosque in Pakistan
At least 17 people were killed and 83 injured in a blast at a mosque at Police Lines area in Peshawar of Pakistan on Monday afternoon, rescue officials said.
Mohammad Asim, a spokesperson for the Lady Reading Hospital (LRC), confirmed the casualties, adding that some of the injured persons were in critical condition, reports Dawn.
Dawn.com’s correspondent at the blast site said the explosion took place at around 1:40pm as Zuhr prayers were being offered. He said personnel of the police, army and bomb disposal squads were present inside the mosque.
The reporter said a portion of the building had collapsed and several people - especially those standing in the front row during the prayers - were believed to be under it.
Visuals run on television channels showed people gathered around the collapsed wall of the mosque.
So far, it is unclear whether a bomb was planted in the mosque or if it was a suicide attack.
On the other hand, the police have closed roads leading to the Red Zone.
In a tweet after the blast was reported, PTI Chairman Imran Khan strongly condemned the “terrorist suicide attack” in Peshawar and expressed sympathies with the families of the victims.
“It is imperative we improve our intelligence gathering & properly equip our police forces to combat the growing threat of terrorism,” he added.
The last major incident of such a nature had taken place in Peshawar last year, when a suicide blast inside a Shia mosque in Kocha Risaldar area claimed 63 lives.