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Pakistan: 28 killed, 150 injured as suicide bomber blows himself up inside Peshawar Police Lines mosque

Peshawar's Cantt area where the mosque was located is a highly sensitive area and a large number of law enforcement and FC personnel are always present in the area.

On January 30 (local time), a blast took place inside the Peshawar Police Lines mosque resulting in the death of 28 people. Around 150 were reportedly injured in the blast. Rescue operations were underway by the time this report was published. As per reports, the blast took place at around 1:40 PM during Zuhr’s prayers.

Geo News reported that a suicide bomber was present in the front row during the prayers. He detonated the suicide device and as a result, the roof of the mosque collapsed. An eyewitness was quoted by Geo TV saying that it was a powerful blast and smoke was everywhere after the blast. The eyewitness lost consciousness due to the blast and when he gained back consciousness, he saw the roof had collapsed. He said, “There were at least 120 people in the mosque when the incident took place. It was a suicide blast because the bomber was inside the mosque’s inner courtyard. The Zohr prayers had just started when it happened. There were mostly policemen among the injured.”

It is notable that to reach the mosque, the bomber must have crossed two checkpoints. Peshawar’s Cantt area where the mosque was located is a highly sensitive area and a large number of law enforcement and FC personnel are always present in the area. The officers of KP’s Counter Terrorism Department and police investigation department are located inside the Cantt. At any given time, there are over 1,000 police officials present in the police headquarters inside the Cantt.

Speaking to the media, Peshawar Commissioner Riaz Mehsood confirmed casualties at the mosque. A senior police official was quoted by the Pakistani daily Dawn saying, “An emergency has been imposed at hospitals across the city and injured persons are being provided the best medical facilities.”

As per the spokesperson of Lady Reading Hospital, Mohammad Asim, several injured who were brought to the hospital were in critical condition. Muhammad Ijaz Khan, Capital City Police Officer, told the media that the roof of the mosque collapsed due to the blast. Several police personnel got stuck under the rubble and rescue operations were underway to pull them out. He said, “The smell of explosives has been detected but it is too early to say anything substantial.” Reportedly those who were standing in the front rows were most affected by the collapsed roof.

At the time of the blast, there were around 300-400 police officials present in the mosque. CCPO Khan called it a “possible security lapse”. The dead bodies and injured personnel were moved to Lady Reading Hospital.

Emergency was imposed in the area following the blast.

High alert in Islamabad

Following the blast, Islamabad is on high alert. The entry and exit points of the capital city have been secured and security agencies are continuously monitoring the situation. Dawn reported that snipers have been placed at the “important points and buildings” in the city.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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