Death toll in Pakistan from suicide bombing at mosque rises to 93 | International

Anguished relatives of the victims of Monday’s attack on a mosque in the city of Peshawar, in northwestern Pakistan, crowded the scene of the incident on Tuesday to find out what happened to their loved ones, a day after a suicide attack to devastate that place of worship while the midday prayer was taking place. The explosion, which collapsed part of the roof and the structure of the building, killed at least 93 people and injured 150, mostly police officers, according to the latest count by Pakistani authorities. This number of victims makes this attack one of the worst attacks in recent years against the country’s security forces.

“The death toll in the explosion has reached 93,” Asim Jan, a spokesman for Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital, told EFE. The high number of victims is explained by the large number of people attending the noon prayer in that mosque, located in the Police Lines district — there were more than 300 worshipers in the temple — and by the collapse of the top floor of the mosque, which trapped many of those present under the rubble. At the moment, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Riaz Mahsud, a senior local government official, told Reuters this death toll is likely to continue to rise as debris from the mosque’s walls and roof is removed. “We have cut three main beams in the building and are trying to cut the remaining one,” he told Reuters. After more than 20 hours of work, the rescue teams continue to lift the rubble by hand on the suspicion that there could be more victims under the rubble. “We cannot use heavy machinery because we have to take into account the sanctity of any martyr [víctima mortal] or injured who may be under the rubble,” the spokesman for the Peshawar rescue services, Bilal Faizi, told EFE.

Outside the mosque, the scenes of pain followed one another this Monday after the attack. “My son, my boy!” Shouted an old woman walking alongside an ambulance carrying coffins, as rescue teams carried the wounded on stretchers to the emergency unit of the city’s hospitals. Live video footage showed people rushing to hospitals to identify the dead and treat the wounded.

The damaged mosque is the main place of worship in the district and is located inside a fortified compound that houses offices of the police and the anti-terror unit. The authorities say they do not know how the terrorist managed to enter the complex, which is protected by a fence and checkpoints manned by police officers. Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Asif reported that the terrorist was in the front row of the prayer hall when he detonated his explosives.

“The magnitude of the human tragedy is unimaginable. This is an attack on Pakistan. The nation is overwhelmed by a deep sense of mourning,” Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Twitter after visiting the site of the explosion and some of the wounded hospitalized in Peshawar on Monday, accompanied by the Army Chief of Staff. General Asim Munir. “I have no doubt that terrorism is our main national security challenge,” Sharif added.

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The Pakistani security forces celebrated this Monday the funeral of 27 of the policemen killed in the attack, discharged with honors by the Peshawar police, in coffins covered with the Pakistani flag and wreaths of flowers.


Although a message on a Twitter account associated with a Pakistani Taliban commander claimed responsibility for the attack, Pakistan’s main Taliban group, Tehrek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), has categorically denied involvement in the attack, claiming that attacks against a holy place of islam such as a mosque are against its rules. “Regarding the Peshawar incident, we consider it necessary to clarify that Tehrek-e-Taliban Pakistan has nothing to do with it,” the spokesman for the fundamentalist group said in a statement. ,

Terrorist attacks and insurgent attacks have increased in recent months in Pakistan after several years of relative calm, largely due to the resurgence of the TTP. The local branch of the Islamic State jihadist organization has also carried out attacks in the past in Pakistan, one of the worst of which was in 2018 against a rally in Balochistan, which caused 128 deaths and 122 injuries.

Attacks had begun to decline in 2014 following a crackdown by Pakistani authorities, but signs of a resurgence are becoming clearer as relations worsen between Pakistan and Afghanistan de facto rule by the Taliban, who took over the power in August 2021.

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