Over 150 people, mostly policemen, were wounded at the scene in a police compound; the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack
Soldiers and police officers clear the way for ambulances rushing toward the bomb explosion site Monday. Pic/AP
A suicide bomber struck Monday inside a mosque within a police compound in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, killing at least 44 people and wounding over 150 others, most of them policemen, officials said. The bombing drew nationwide condemnation from opposition political parties and government officials. Ghulam Ali, the provincial governor in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where Peshawar is the capital, said there were fears the death toll could rise even further.
Most of the casualties were policemen and police officers — the targeted mosque is located within a sprawling compound, which also serves as the city’s police headquarters. Police said between 300 to 350 worshipers were inside the mosque when the bomber detonated his explosives. Sarbakaf Mohmand, a commander for the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter. The police compound is located in a high-security zone in Peshawar, along with several government buildings, and it was unclear how the bomber managed to penetrate so deep inside the zone unnoticed.
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The impact of the explosion damaged the roof of the mosque, which caved in and injured many, according to Zafar Khan, a local police officer. A survivor, 38-year-old police officer Meena Gul, said he was inside the mosque when the bomb went off. He said he doesn’t know how he survived unhurt. He could hear cries and screams after explosion, Gul said. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif condemned the bombing, and ordered authorities to ensure the best possible medical treatment to the victims. He also vowed “stern action” against those who were behind the attack.
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