17 killed, 90 injured in Pakistan mosque bombing
Islamabad, Jan 30 (EFE).- At least 17 people, including police officers, lost their lives, and more than 90 others suffered injuries in a suspected suicide bombing inside a mosque in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Monday, officials said.
“We have received 17 bodies and over 90 injured but more casualties are feared,” Lady Reading Hospital spokesperson Asim Khan told EFE.
The spokesperson for the Peshawar hospital said they issued an appeal for blood donations for several injured.
Peshawar police officer Behzaad Khan told EFE that it was “a suicide blast inside a mosque in Police Lines area.
He said the bombing killed two policemen and injured over 50 people.
The officer feared that the toll might go up.
No group immediately claimed the responsibility for the attack in the capital of the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan.
An eyewitness told local Geo TV that the bomber detonated an explosive device as worshipers were busy offering afternoon namaz inside the mosque.
Pakistan has witnessed a surge in militant attacks since the Taliban seized power in neighboring Afghanistan.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or the Pakistani Taliban, ended a ceasefire with the government in November last year after talks between the two failed.
The TTP is a separate insurgent movement from the Taliban in Afghanistan but shares its ideology with the Afghan namesake.
The Pakistani government has been claiming TTP leadership is hiding in Afghanistan.
The government recently issued a high alert and beefed up security, especially in the capital Islamabad where a suicide blast killed three people, including a policeman, in December.
The outlawed Islamist group has increased its activities, mainly in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Pakistan is also battling a separatist insurgency in the research-rich southern Balochistan province.
As the suicide bombing in Peshawar heightened security concerns, the government said it delayed the visit of United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Islamabad on Monday due to “weather conditions.”
The Arab ruler was to pay an official visit “to discuss the friendship and cooperation relations between the UAE and Pakistan.” EFE