Crime & Justice

Death toll in Pakistan mosque bombing rises to 93

Islamabad, Jan 31 (EFE).- The death toll from a suicide bombing at a mosque near a police enclave in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar has risen to 93, officials said on Tuesday.

Most of the deceased in the Monday attack, one of the deadliest ever staged on law enforcement authorities in Pakistan’s history, are police and other members of the security forces.

“The death toll has risen to 93,” Asim Khan, a spokesperson for the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, told EFE.

Khan said 57 out of 157 wounded were still in the hospital, and four were critical.

According to the rescue department, workers had cleared around 80 percent rubble from the collapsed mosque after 20 hours of the attack in the restive province.

“We cannot use heavy machinery because we have to take into account the sanctity of any martyred or injured who could be beneath the rubble,” Bilal Faizi, a spokesperson for Peshawar Rescue Service, told EFE.

He said the mopping operation continued throughout the night, during which one injured was rescued.

“There may still be some more dead or injured under the rubble and we are taking care of that,” Faizi said.

Funeral prayers and a police salute were offered for the officers killed in the attack on Monday night.

Footage released by Peshawar police showed coffins draped in Pakistani flags and floral wreaths.

It was still unclear how many more police officers were killed in the attack.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or the Pakistani Taliban, denied involvement in the attack after one of their commanders claimed responsibility on Twitter.

The initial claim by a TTP commander could not be verified independently.

“Regarding the Peshawar incident, we consider it necessary to clarify that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has nothing to do with the incident,” spokesperson Muhammed Khurasani said in a statement.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir visited Peshawar.

“The sheer scale of the human tragedy is unimaginable. This is no less than an attack on Pakistan. The nation is overwhelmed by a deep sense of grief,” Sharif tweeted.

The last attack against a religious site in Pakistan took place in Peshawar in March 2022, when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in a mosque, killing 56 worshipers.

In addition to the TTP, the Islamic State jihadist group has also conducted attacks in Pakistan, one of the worst in 2018 on a rally in Balochistan that killed 128 people.

The attacks began to decline in frequency in 2014 after Pakistani authorities launched an offensive against the insurgent groups.

But in recent years, there has been a resurgence in violence that has been harming relations between Islamabad and Kabul, where the Taliban retook power after the US pullout in August 2021. EFE

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