Peshawar mosque blast could be an inside job, probe underway
The suicide bomb attack at a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Monday could be an inside job, reports say, looking at how the bomber managed to bypass the security check. The country's administration is investigating the likelihood and has arrested 17 people in the case so far. Following the allegations of the involvement of security personnel, the police reportedly protested against the government.
Why does this story matter?
- The explosion, which killed 100 and injured over 170 people, comes as an indicator of the deteriorating security situation in Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan's restive Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan.
- Notably, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which claimed responsibility for the attack, recently ended a ceasefire agreement with the Pakistani government, raising fears of an increase in violence and cross-border tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Mosque located in high-security compound alongside police headquarters
The mosque, where the blast occurred, was located inside a fortified compound that housed the headquarters of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police force and offices of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD). The suicide bomber managed to pass through four levels of security and reach the Red Zone compound. The attacker detonated the bomb when around 400 people had lined up to offer prayers.
Protest by security personnel pointed at spy services
The explosion caused parts of the mosque to collapse, trapping many under. Peshawar's health department declared an emergency, directing all medical personnel to remain on duty. After a probe was ordered, personnel of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police protested, chanting, "Yeh jo namaloom hain, yeh humein maloom hain" (we know the unknown), hinting at the spy services, locally euphemized as 'namaloom' or the unknown.
We know the unknown: Protesting KP police personnel
Explosives shifted to Police Lines in parts
This attack, which also killed many security personnel, is the deadliest in decades in Pakistan. The suicide bomber was identified as Mohammed Ayaz (37), a resident of Mohmand district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The police said that 10-12 kg of explosives were used in the blast, which was shifted in parts to the Police Lines as construction activities were underway there.