Crime & Justice

Pakistan mosque bomber was disguised as police officer: probe

Islamabad, Feb 2 (EFE).- The attack against a mosque in northwestern Pakistan which killed at least 100 people and wounded over 150 earlier this week was carried out by a suicide bomber who managed to enter the high security area dressed as a police officer, authorities said on Thursday.

“This was a suicide bomber and we have traced him (…), we have obtained the CCTV footage of his movement from Khyber Road to the Police Lines (…). He was in a police uniform,” the police chief for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Moazzam Jah Ansari, said in a presser.

The bombing was carried out on Monday at a mosque in the police lines area – a residential and training complex for the police – in the provincial capital Peshawar.

Although this is a high-security area, the officers at the complex’s entrance did not “check the attacker because they thought he was their own man,” Ansari said.

The police chief claimed that the assailant had not acted alone and that security forces were closing-in on the terrorist network behind the attack.

He said that the severed head of the bomber had been found on the spot.

Although the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan – the main Taliban offshoot in the country – has denied responsibility for the Monday mosque bombing, it has carried out most of the recent attacks in the country.

Around 300-400 devotees, most of them police officers, had been offering afternoon prayers at the mosque when the attacker detonated himself, blowing away the building’s ceiling.

“At 12:37pm, he entered the main gate on a motorcycle, came inside, talked to a constable and asked him where the mosque was,” Ansari said citing the ongoing investigations.

He added that 10-12 kilograms of TNT – a high-power explosive – were used in the attack.

Some people have already been arrested for suspected links with the bombing.

Several officers of the provincial police gathered at the Peshawar press club on Wednesday demanding security and alleged that the attack was coordinated with internal support, boosting speculation that a bomb may have been placed by terrorists who had infiltrated the security forces.

However, the police claimed on Thursday to have found “ball bearings used in a suicide jacket from underneath the rubble” to back the suicide bombing theory. EFE


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