The death toll has risen to 92 people after a mosque suicide bomb blast targeting policemen in the city of Peshawar in Pakistan.
As reported by BBC News, the mosque is within a high-security police headquarters area and a probe is underway into how the bomber got in.
Monday’s blast happened at around 13:30 (08:30 GMT) during afternoon prayers in the North-Western city, which is near the country’s border with Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister and other leaders have condemned Monday’s attack as one of the worst in the country in recent years.
On Tuesday, rescuers scrambled to retrieve worshippers buried in the rubble, pulling out 9 people alive but recovering 24 bodies. No one remained trapped, local officials said in a statement.
A hospital spokesman confirmed that more than 100 people remained wounded. Meanwhile, funerals have been carried out for more than 20 police officers, their coffins draped with the Pakistan flag.
The Pakistani Taliban has denied involvement after an initial claim by one of its commanders.
“Terrorists want to create fear by targeting those who perform the duty of defending Pakistan,” said PM Shehbaz Sharif. He, on the other hand, declared a national day of mourning in the country.
Between 300 and 400 police officers had been in the area at the time, Peshawar police chief Muhammad Ijaz Khan earlier told local media.
The mosque is in one of the most heavily controlled areas of the city, which includes police headquarters and intelligence and counter-terrorism bureaus.
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PM Sharif said that those behind the attack had “nothing to do with Islam”. He also added: “The entire nation is standing united against the menace of terrorism.”
The Pakistan Taliban a group separate from Afghanistan’s Taliban government ended a ceasefire in November last year, and violence has been on the rise in the country since then.
In December 2022 it targeted a police station like Peshawar, in the northwest of the country leading to the deaths of 33 militants.
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United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the attack, with his spokeswoman saying: “It is particularly abhorrent that such an attack occurred at a place of worship.”
The attack on the mosque took place at the start of a key week for Pakistani diplomacy.
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