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Death toll of Pakistan's mosque blast rises to 100

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-01-31 19:55

An Army soldier and rescue workers survey the damages, after a suicide blast in a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan Jan 31, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

ISLAMABAD - Death toll of Monday's suicide blast in a mosque in Pakistan's northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has risen to 100 on Tuesday with over 200 others injured, hospital sources said.

In talks with Xinhua, Muhammad Asim, spokesperson of Lady Reading Hospital, where most of the injured people were shifted, said that 53 wounded victims are being treated at the hospital while the rest were discharged after treatment.

He added that seven of the injured, who are in critical condition, are being treated in the intensive care unit of the hospital.

The incident happened at about 1:13 pm local time when about 300 policemen were chanting afternoon prayers at the mosque located in the Police Lines area, a highly profiled vicinity housing offices and residences of police, and other departments of the law enforcement agencies.

Almost all of the victims were either policemen, non-uniformed staff of the police department, or their visitors or family members, police sources told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The roof of the mosque was razed to the ground, following the attack, trapping scores of victims inside and it took rescue teams over 24 hours to complete the operation and recover all injured and the bodies from the debris.

"It was one of the most challenging operations in our career as there were several people whom we treating and helping to pull out at the same time because half of their bodies were out and the other half was in the debris," Salman Safi, in-charge of rescue operations at Edhi Foundation Peshawar, told Xinhua.

Calling the incident a security breach, Inspector General of Police in the province Moazzam Ansari said that an investigation is underway to determine how the terrorist carrying 10-12 kg of explosives succeeded in penetrating the heavily guarded area to reach the mosque.

Briefing media after the conclusion of the operation on Tuesday afternoon, Ansari said that the police are reviewing CCTV footage of the last 30 days to identify the facilitators of the suicide attacker in order to bring him to books.

According to local media reports, the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack after the blast. However, later, a statement circulating in the local social media allegedly from the TTP denied their involvement in the attack.

Further investigation into the matter is underway.

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