Peshawar mosque blast: Death toll reaches 100, TTP claims responsibility
The death toll from a suspected suicide bomb attack at a mosque in Pakistan's northwestern Peshawar city on Monday has risen to at least 100 on Tuesday, CNN reported. The number of casualties will likely rise as the rescue and search operations were still on to look for survivors. Meanwhile, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attack, as per news agency PTI.
Why does this story matter?
- The explosion comes at a time of economic distress in Pakistan. The attack is also being seen as an indicator of the deteriorating security situation in Peshawar, the capital of the restive Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan.
- Notably, the TTP ended a ceasefire agreement with the Pakistani government last year, raising fears of an increase in violence and cross-border tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Rescue operations on, hope for more survivors low: Officials
Peshawar Deputy Commissioner Shafiullah Khan earlier on Tuesday told CNN that more than 80 people were undergoing treatment in different hospitals following the mosque bomb blast. Meanwhile, officials said that the search and rescue operations to find survivors and bodies were still ongoing. However, they suggested that the death toll might climb further as hopes for finding more survivors were low.
90% of victims are police personnel: Peshawar Police chief
Muhammad Asim Khan, a spokesperson for Peshawar's main Lady Reading Hospital, said the death toll increased to 100 as more bodies reached them. He said at least another 150 people were injured. Meanwhile, Peshawar City Police chief Muhammad Ijaz Khan told AFP over 90% of the dead were cops. Nearly 400 police personnel had gathered in the mosque for the prayers, he added.
Visuals of rescue and search operations shared on Twitter
Death tolls from Peshawar suicide blast raises to 87 with 157 injured, while 57 are still under treatment.— Walled city of Peshawar (@Oldpeshawar) January 31, 2023
Get ready for #PeshawarAmanMarch #Peshawar #Peshawarblast pic.twitter.com/wMd599zc1y
TTP claims responsibility for Peshawar mosque blast: Report
According to a report by PTI, the alleged suicide bomber was linked to a banned terrorist organization known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as Pakistani Taliban. The strike is among a series of attacks planned to exact revenge for the loss of TTP terrorist Umar Khalid Khurasani's brother, who was slain in Afghanistan last year, the news agency reported.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed grief over attack
While the pain of the grieving families cannot be described in words, I express my heartfelt condolences & most sincere sympathies. My message to the perpetrators of today's despicable incident is that you can't underestimate the resolve of our people. https://t.co/edUJ6SbP3M— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) January 30, 2023
Security increased in several cities, including capital Islamabad
According to reports, security has been beefed up in almost all provinces of Pakistan following the attack. Dr. Akbar Nasir Khan, the Inspector General of Islamabad, on Monday placed the Pakistan capital on a "security high alert." A tweet by the Islamabad Police earlier said security at Islamabad's exit and entry points was ramped up, and monitoring was underway via the "Safe City" system.