PESHAWAR: Forty five people were injured in multiple explosions near a passport office in Peshawar on Friday.
The attack started at around 1:30pm at Imamia Masjid - Peshawar. The mosque has been cleared while search operation in the area is still underway.
Three explosions were reported in Peshawar’s Hayatabad area. One of the blasts took place inside Imamia Masjid, shortly after the Friday prayers came to an end. Further, according to Media Reports, firing was heard at the site of the blast. Police have cleared the area whereas BDS neutralised suicide jacket left behind by the third attacker inside the mosque. Army personnel, Elite Force and Anti-Terrrorism Squad were called in to assist with security. It is reported than around 100 people were inside the mosque at the time of the attack.
Hayatabad area is around three to four kilometers away from Khyber Agency’s Jamrud area. The injured were shifted to hospitals nearby, and the area was cordoned. Provincial health secretary says emergency has been declared at Hayatabad Medical Complex, Combined Military Hospital and Lady Reading Hospital where all the injured have been shifted.
“There is no shortage of blood or doctors,” he adds.
According to preliminary reports, the suicide bomber who blew himself up was between 25 to 30 years of age.
His body was still inside the mosque along with a suicide jacket — which has not been neutralised till late — and hand grenades.
The suicide bombers reportedly entered the mosque through a building that was under construction next to the mosque.
An eyewitness says a several grenades were thrown as worshippers performed the last sajda,adding that it was a suicide attack.
The eyewitness also claims that the attackers were dressed in police uniforms.
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack on the mosque.
“It is the revenge of Dr Usman who was hanged last month for attack on the army’s headquarters,” the TTP spokesperson Muhammad Khorasani said.
K-P IG Nasir Durrani, while speaking to the media, says police are collecting evidence while BDS has defused explosives left behind by the terrorists.
Durrani says the entrance of the mosque is highly guarded and the attackers entered from the other side of the mosque.
“The attackers climbed a high wall and cut barbed wires in order to enter the mosque,” he explains.
The IG says he is hopeful about tracing the attackers because of ample evidence left behind by the militants.
Deputy Commissioner, while speaking to Media, said that the attack on the mosque started with firing from a building nearby after which three to four suicide bombers entered the mosque.
He told that one suicide bomber blew himself up, and there remained a suicide jacket inside the mosque.
The commissioner said that the bomb disposal squad was called in to neutralise the explosives.
Police say the attackers arrived in a car and burnt it before entering the mosque.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says the government is determined to eliminate terrorism and extremism from the country, according to Radio Pakistan.
Durrani adds that one of the attackers was tackled by the people when he tried to detonate his explosives.
Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) condemns the attack and announces three days of mourning across the country.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA Shaukat Yousafzai says security forces are conducting a search operation in the area to ensure the area is clear.
The minister adds that K-P is fighting a war for Pakistan’s survival and that Operation Zarb-e-Azb has destroyed the terror network to a great extent.
Political leaders have condemned the tragic attack, including Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain, former president Asif Ali Zardari, and General (retd) Pervaiz Musharraf.