World

Suicide bomber breaches high security in Pakistan mosque, kills 61

Peshawar Attack
Inam Ansari
January30/ 2023

Peshawar: A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a crowded mosque in a highly fortified security compound in Pakistan on Monday, killing 61 people, including 27 police officials, the latest attack by resurgent Islamist militants targeting police. The attacker appeared to have passed through several barricades manned by security forces to get into the "Red Zone" compound that houses police and counter-terrorism offices in the volatile northwestern city of Peshawar, police said. "It was a suicide bombing," Peshawar Police Chief Ijaz Khan told Reuters. Many of the 170 wounded people were in critical condition, he said. The death toll rose to 61 after several people succumbed to their wounds, hospital official Mohammad Asim said in a statement. Twenty-seven of them were police officials, police said. The bombing happened a day before an International Monetary Fund mission to Islamabad to initiate talks on unlocking funding for the South Asian country's economy, which is enduring a balance of payments crisis. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the attack. The bomber detonated his load at the moment hundreds of people lined up to say their prayers, officials said. "We have found traces of explosives," Khan told reporters, adding that a security lapse had clearly occurred as the bomber had slipped through the most secured area of the compound. An inquiry was under way into how the attacker breached such an elite security cordon and whether there was any inside help. Khan said the mosque hall was packed with up to 400 worshippers. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, the worst in Peshawar since March 2022 when an Islamic State suicide bombing killed at least 58 people in a Shi' ...

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