Islamabad, Mar 4 (EFE).- At least 30 people were killed and 50 others injured on Friday in an attack against a mosque of the Shia minority during special weekly prayers in the city of Peshawar, capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in northwestern Pakistan.
“So far 30 dead bodies have brought to the hospital,” Asim Khan, a spokesperson for the city’s Lady Reading hospital, told EFE.
He added that the explosion, which took place during Friday prayers, injured 50 people, many of them critically.
The police had reported that the dead include members of the security forces and that multiple insurgents took part in the attack and opened fire against security forces.
“At least two terrorists first opened fire on the two policemen guarding the mosque at the gate and then entered,” Gul Khan, a police official at the Peshawar police headquarters, told EFE.
He said that the explosion appeared to be the result of a suicide bombing, but this has not been confirmed yet.
The explosion damaged the interior parts of the mosque, with windowpanes getting shattered, while the debris were also strewn outside.
Outside the hospital where the victims have been admitted, dozens of people held a protest against the attack.
Pakistan’s Shia community has been repeatedly targeted in violence and terrorist attacks, with over 2,500 deaths recorded since 2001 according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, although the frequency of these attacks has gone down in recent years.
A deadly attack took place in 2019, when at least 20 people were killed and 40 injured – with most of the victims being members of the Shia Hazara community – in a bombing in southwestern Pakistan, carried out by hiding explosives inside a sack of potatoes.
This attack was claimed by the Islamic State terror group, which considers Shias as apostates.
In August 2021, at least three people were killed and 50 others injured in an attack against a Shia procession during the Islamic month of Muharram in eastern Pakistan.
Terrorism-related violence has reduced significantly in Pakistan after the military launched an operation in the tribal areas of the Northwest in June 2014, which was later extended to the rest of the country. EFE