Updated Jan 31, 2023 - World

Death toll from suicide bombing at mosque in Pakistan climbs to 100

Pakistan suicide bombing at mosque

Security personnel and rescue workers prepare to search for the blast victims in the debris of a damaged mosque inside the police headquarters in Peshawar on Jan. 30. Photo: Abdul Majeed/AFP via Getty Images

Officials in Pakistan said Tuesday the death toll from a suicide bombing at a mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar has increased to 100, per AP.

Driving the news: At least 225 people were injured in Monday's attack, which took place as more than 300 worshippers were gathered inside the mosque. Most of those killed or injured were police officers, per Al Jazeera.

  • The mosque is located inside a compound that also includes the city's police headquarters.

State of play: The bombing took place during the noon prayers, Ghulam Ali, the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, of which Peshawar is the capital, told Bloomberg. "It's an unfortunate incident," Ali said.

  • The explosion caused the roof of the mosque to collapse, injuring many inside, a local police officer said, per AP.
  • Counter-terrorism police are investigating how the suicide bomber managed to enter the compound, with officials describing it a "security lapse."
  • "Action will be taken against those whose negligence” caused the attack, said Kashif Aftab Abbasi, a senior officer in Peshawar, per AP.

A commander for the Pakistani Taliban (also known Tehreek-e-Taliban, or TTP), Sarbakaf Mohmand, claimed responsibility for the attack in a Twitter post shortly after the bombing, per AP.

  • However, hours later, Mohammad Khurasani, a TTP spokesperson, distanced the group from the attack, saying it wasn't the Pakistani Taliban's policy to target religious places, mosques and seminaries, and that doing so could result in punishment, AP reported.
  • His statement did not address why a commander of the group had claimed responsibility for the attack.

What they're saying: Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif condemned the bombing in a statement, saying the attackers "have nothing to do with Islam," the Washington Post reported.

  • "Terrorists want to create fear by targeting those who perform the duty of defending Pakistan," he added.
  • "Just returned from Peshawar. The sheer scale of the human tragedy is unimaginable. This is no less than an attack on Pakistan," Sharif tweeted later Monday. "The nation is overwhelmed by a deep sense of grief."

The big picture: Peshawar has frequently been the target of militant groups, including the Pakistani Taliban, an umbrella group of Sunni and sectarian Islamist factions, per Reuters.

  • Pakistan has seen a surge in violent attacks over the past year, with more than 150 attacks by the Pakistani Taliban recorded in 2022, Al Jazeera reported. The violence comes as the country continues to reel from a worsening economic crisis.
  • The Pakistani Taliban is separate from the Afghan Taliban, though the two are ideologically aligned. In general, violence in Pakistan has increased since the Taliban retook control of neighboring Afghanistan in 2021, per AP.
  • There has been an increase in militant attacks since November — after the Pakistani Taliban ended its ceasefire with government forces, AP reported.
  • A suicide bombing in a Shiite mosque killed more than 55 people and injured nearly 200. ISIS-K, the regional affiliate of ISIS, claimed responsibility for that attack.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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