The fatalities of the suicide bombing are police officers praying at the Peshawar compound

Pakistan mosque bombing leaves more than 40 police officers dead

AP/MUHAMMAD SAJJA - A suicide bomber struck inside a mosque in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Monday, killing several people and wounding dozens of worshippers

A suicide bombing at a mosque inside a police compound in northwest Pakistan on Monday left at least 44 officers dead and 150 others wounded, most of them members of the security forces, in one of the worst attacks on the force in the country's history. 

"The death toll has reached 32 and all of them are policemen. More than 147 people were injured and they are also mostly policemen," Asim Khan, a spokesman for the Lady Reading Hospital in the city of Peshawar, where the attack took place, told EFE. 

The medical centre has been forced to appeal for blood donations to treat the dozens of victims of the attack. "People from outside are not allowed to enter the centre," Peshawar Commissioner Riaz Mehsud told EFE. 

The attack occurred around midday at a mosque in Police Lines, a residential and training centre for police, which explains the high number of victims within the police force, Mehsud said. 

300 worshippers at prayer time 

Rescue teams are still searching for injured people from under the rubble caused by the powerful explosion, which occurred when the mosque was particularly crowded during one of the prayers.

Atentado Pakistán

"There were more than 300 worshippers in the mosque, and (the suicide bombing) took place during the prayer," police officer Muhammad Ijaz Khan told the media at the entrance of the mosque. 

Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Asif revealed that the suicide bomber was in the front row during the prayers, and claimed that the state must act against terrorists. "It is time we went back to fighting the war against terrorism," he said in an interview with Pakistan's Geo TV. 

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the "brutal murder of Muslims while they were praying before Allah", while travelling to the area of the tragedy, where he will visit the victims and learn more about the attack. 

So far no insurgent formation has claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Increase in attacks 

The last attack on a religious centre in Pakistan took place in the same city of Peshawar in March 2022, when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in a Shia minority mosque, leaving 56 dead and nearly 200 injured. 

Terrorist and insurgent attacks have increased in recent months in Pakistan after several years of relative calm, largely due to the resurgence of the main Pakistani Taliban group, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Atentado Pakistán

The formation, an umbrella of tribal armed groups created in 2007 and allied with the Afghan Taliban, has stepped up its attacks after ending a ceasefire with the government last November. The TTP also claimed to have joined forces with separatist groups in the southern province of Baluchistan. 

Since its formation, the group has carried out a brutal campaign of terrorist attacks across the country and killed thousands of people, many of them members of the security forces. It also attempted to assassinate future Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai in 2012. 

The jihadist group Islamic State (IS) has also carried out attacks in the past in Pakistan, one of the worst in 2018 targeting a rally in Balochistan, which left 128 people dead and 122 injured. 

Attacks began to decline in 2014 after a crackdown by Pakistani authorities, but signs of a resurgence are becoming clearer as relations worsen between Pakistan and an Afghanistan under the interim government of the Taliban, who seized power in August 2021.

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