The death toll has risen to at least 89 after a suicide attack at a mosque in north-west Pakistan. At least ten dead were recovered from the rubble of the collapsed building on Tuesday night, said a local police spokesman for the dpa news agency. More than 220 people were injured.
The attack happened Monday during midday prayers in a high-security zone in the city of Peshawar, which is also home to many police buildings. The victims are mainly police officers, the spokesman said. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the attack. "It was nothing short of an attack on Pakistan," he said. It was unclear how the attacker was able to get onto the walled-in area.
A commander of the Pakistani Taliban (TTPP), Sarbakaf Mohmand, said on Twitter that his group carried out the attack. The act was in retaliation for the August 2022 killing of Abdul Wali, known as Omar Khalid Khurasani, in Afghanistan's Paktika province, he said.
Hours later, however, a Taliban spokesman denied the attack on behalf of the group. It is not TTP policy to attack mosques, seminaries and religious sites. Anyone involved in such acts could expect punishment. He did not explain why the commander had previously stated otherwise.
In Pakistan, the vast majority of the population of more than 230 million people is Muslim. For a long time, Peshawar, with its approximately two million inhabitants, was the center of a region of unrest in Pakistan. After a military offensive against Islamist terrorist groups in 2014, things calmed down there. In recent years, however, there have been more attacks there. In March 2022, an IS terrorist militia blew himself up in Peshawar, killing more than 60 people.
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