Estimated reading time 2 minutes 2 Min

Death toll from Pakistan mosque bombing rises to 83

The death toll from a suicide bombing at a mosque in the Pakistani city of Peshawar has risen to 83.

January 31, 2023
By Riaz Khan
31 January 2023

The death toll from the suicide bombing that tore through a mosque in northwestern Pakistan has risen to 87, a day after one of the biggest attacks in the unstable South Asian nation.

The attack on Monday occurred in one of the most fortified areas of Peshawar city, which houses offices of the police and counterterrorism departments.

The bomber blew himself up shortly after hundreds of worshippers lined up to say their afternoon prayer, the latest in a string of attacks targeting police.

Hospital official Mohammad Asim said more bodies were retrieved from the rubble overnight and early on Tuesday, and several of those critically injured died in hospital.

“Most of them were policemen,” Asim said of the victims.

Bilal Faizi, the chief rescue official, said rescue teams were still carefully removing the rubble at the mosque, with more people believed trapped inside after the roof caved in from the explosion.

He said the bombing wounded more than 150 people. It was not clear how the bomber was able to slip into the walled compound in a high-security zone with other government buildings.

Also on Tuesday, mourners were burying the bombing victims at graveyards in Peshawar and elsewhere.

Authorities have not determined who was behind the attack.

Shortly after the explosion, Sarbakaf Mohmand, a commander for the Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, claimed responsibility for the attack in a post on Twitter.

But hours later, TTP spokesman Mohammad Khurasani distanced the group from the bombing, saying it was not its policy to target religious places, adding that those taking part in such acts could face punitive action. 

His statement did not address why a TTP commander had claimed responsibility for the bombing.

“The sheer scale of the human tragedy is unimaginable. This is no less than an attack on Pakistan,” tweeted Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who visited the wounded in Peshawar and vowed “stern action” against those behind the bombing.

He expressed his condolences to families of the victims, saying their pain “cannot be described in words”.

Pakistan, which is mostly Sunni Muslim, has seen a surge in militant attacks since November, when the Pakistani Taliban ended their ceasefire with government forces.

AP and Reuters

More in Top Stories