Islamabad: The death toll from a suicide bombing at a mosque in Pakistan’s Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province rose to 100 on January 31.
The rescue teams recovered more bodies from the crowded mosque. The number of injured has risen to at least 221.
The terrorist group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has taken responsibility for the blast. The suspected bomber was identified as 37-year-old Mohammed Ayaz from Mohmand district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Rescue officials recovered the severed head of the suspected suicide bomber who they believe blew himself up inside a mosque.
The TTP, which is believed to be close to Al-Qaeda, has been blamed for several deadly attacks across Pakistan, including an attack on army headquarters in 2009, assaults on military bases, and the 2008 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.
The powerful blast occurred inside the mosque in the Police Lines area around 1.40 pm when worshippers, which included personnel of the police, army and bomb disposal squad — were offering the Zuhr (afternoon) prayers.
Most of the victims were police personnel. At least a deputy superintendent of police, five sub-inspectors and the mosque’s prayer leader Maulana Sahibzada Noorul Amin were among the dead.
According to Police Control Room Peshawar, more than two-hundred injured were brought to the Lady Reading hospital, out of which about one-hundred injured are under treatment in the hospital and the rest have been discharged, it said.
The bomber entered the highly secured mosque inside police lines where four layers of security were in place.
Provincial Police chief Moazzam Jah Ansari said they are investigating the blast and how the bomber entered the highly fortified mosque in the Police Lines area, adding 10-12 kg explosives were used in the blast.
We sowed seeds of terrorism: Pak minister
Speaking on the deadly suicide bombing in Peshawar, Pakistan Defense Minister Khawaja Asif said worshippers were not killed during prayers even in India, the Dawn reported.
Expressing his views on the attack at the National Assembly, Asif said, “Worshippers weren’t killed during prayers even in India or Israel but it happened in Pakistan.”
Calling for unity in the fight against terrorism, the minister said it was time for Pakistan to set its “house in order,” according to Dawn.
“I will not talk for long but I will say briefly that at the start, we sowed the seeds for terrorism,” the minister said.