- An explosion at a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan, has killed no less than 90 individuals.
- One police officer who survived mentioned his co-workers’ screams “resonated” in his head.
- Nobody has claimed duty for the assault as the remainder of the nation is positioned on excessive alert.
A second of prayer and luxury in a spot of worship for lots of of Muslims.
Seconds later an explosion. Rising black smoke, particles and buried our bodies.
These have been the harrowing moments informed by a police officer after a bomb exploded at a Pakistani police compound throughout afternoon prayers on Monday, killing greater than 60 individuals and injuring lots of.
Many of the lifeless have been law enforcement officials within the provincial metropolis of Peshawar, close to former tribal areas alongside the Afghan border the place militancy has steadily elevated.
Individuals carry the physique of their relative, who was a sufferer of the assault, at a mosque. Sources: AAP extension / Muhammad Sayyad/AP
Shahid Ali was one of many officers on the mosque who survived the assault. He mentioned it befell simply seconds after the imam signaled the beginning of the prayer.
“I noticed black smoke rising in direction of the sky. I ran out to save lots of my life,” mentioned the 47-year-old.
“The screams of the individuals nonetheless echo in my head.”
As night time fell, a number of males have been nonetheless trapped within the rubble, seen via cracks within the concrete.
“Many law enforcement officials are buried below the rubble”
A frantic rescue operation continued in a single day on the mosque, which had blown away a whole wall and a part of its roof within the potential suicide bombing.
Extra our bodies are being pulled from the rubble, with the quantity to date rising to no less than 90 lifeless and 170 others wounded, in line with Reuters information company.
Senior native authorities official Riaz Mahsud informed Reuters the dying toll is prone to rise as search groups minimize via the rubble to search out survivors.
“We now have minimize three most important beams of the constructing and work is underway to shorten the remaining one,” he mentioned.
Peshawar Police Chief Muhammad Ijaz Khan mentioned a lot of his colleagues have been believed to be buried below the rubble as between 300 and 400 law enforcement officials normally attended the prayers each day.
“Efforts are being made to get them out safely.”
He put the ultimate dying toll at 95, with greater than 221 wounded.
Blood-covered survivors hobbled out of the rubble whereas our bodies have been carried away in ambulances.
Officers mentioned the blast got here from the second row of worshipers, and investigators have been contemplating the potential of a suicide bombing.
“It’s an emergency scenario,” mentioned Muhammad Asim Khan, a spokesman for the primary hospital in Peshawar.
No less than 20 of the law enforcement officials killed have been later buried after a prayer ceremony with coffins lined up and draped with the Pakistani flag.
Safety officers collect for funeral prayers for law enforcement officials killed in a mosque bombing. Sources: AAP extension / ap
“Terrorists wish to create worry by concentrating on these performing the responsibility of defending Pakistan,” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif mentioned in an announcement.
The officers have been buried with a guard of honor, a police official informed AFP.
No group has but claimed duty for the assault, which got here amid a deteriorating safety scenario within the nation.
Pakistan on excessive alert
Positioned in one of the vital strictly managed areas of the town, Peshawar Police Headquarters homes intelligence and counter-terrorism workplaces and is adjoining to the Regional Secretariat.
Provinces throughout the nation mentioned they have been on excessive alert after the blast, with checkpoints ramped up and extra safety forces, whereas within the capital, Islamabad, snipers have been deployed to buildings and metropolis entrances.
Safety officers examine the positioning of a mosque explosion at police headquarters in Peshawar. Sources: Getty / Maaz Ali
The drastic safety breach got here on the day that United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was resulting from go to Islamabad, regardless of the journey being canceled on the final minute resulting from dangerous climate.
UN Secretary-Basic Antonio Guterres condemned the blast as “abhorrent” on Monday, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed condolences for the “horrific assault”.
historical past of violence
The safety scenario in Pakistan – as soon as suffering from bombings till 2014 when order was largely restored with an enormous navy crackdown – has deteriorated for the reason that Afghan Taliban returned to Kabul.
Pakistan’s authorities has accused the brand new rulers of failing to safe their mountainous border, permitting militants to journey forwards and backwards with out being detected.
The primary menace comes from the resurgent Pakistani Taliban, a separate motion from the Afghan Taliban however with an analogous ideology, which has significantly elevated the variety of assaults on police and safety forces with minor casualties.
The group has denied duty for the bombing.
In the meantime, the regional chapter of the self-proclaimed Islamic State group – whose numbers have been boosted by jail breaks in Afghanistan in 2021 – claimed an assault on a Shia minority mosque in Peshawar final yr that killed 64 individuals, Pakistan’s deadliest terrorist assault since 2018.
Investigators mentioned the murderer was an Afghan exile who had returned house to coach for the assault.
Extra reporting: Reuters