Attack on mosque leaves at least 56 dead
At least 56 people have been killed and almost 200 wounded following gunfire and an explosion at a mosque in Peshawar in northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border on Friday, medics have said.
Many of the injured remain in critical condition, meaning that the death toll is likely to rise, according to the spokesman for Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) who provided the figures.
The attack targeted the Kucha Risaldar Mosque in Peshawar’s old city at a time when Shia Muslim worshippers were gathering for Friday prayers.
Two gunmen initially opened fire at police officers outside the building, Peshawar’s Police Chief Mohammed Ejaz Khan has said.
One perpetrator and one officer were killed in the shootout, while the second attacker managed to make his way into the mosque and that’s when the blast went off, according to Khan. There were some 150 people inside, he added.
The office of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province governor later confirmed that the blast was a suicide bombing.
Investigators have been working to establish details about the incident, which “seemed to be a suicide attack,” he said.
One of the survivors recalled that he was just entering the mosque when the blast threw him back into the street. “I opened my eyes and there was dust and bodies everywhere,” he said.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the bombing, but both Islamic State and Pakistani Taliban have been active in the area, carrying out similar attacks.