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Suicide bomber kills at least 20, injures 96 in Pakistan mosque blast

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A suicide bomber struck Monday at a mosque in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, killing at least 20 people and injuring as many as 96 worshipers, officials said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, said Saddique Khan, a senior police official in Peshawar who took toll on the latest victims, but the Pakistani Taliban have been blamed for similar suicide bombings in the past.

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The bomber detonated his suicide vest while some 150 worshipers – including many police officers from nearby police stations – were praying inside. The impact of the explosion caused the roof of the mosque to collapse, causing many to collapse and many to be injured, said Zafar Khan, a local police officer.

A survivor, 38-year-old police officer Meena Gul, said he was in the mosque when the bomb went off. He said he doesn’t know how he survived unscathed. He could hear screams and screams after the bomb exploded, Gul said.

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A police officer gives way to an ambulance carrying injured victims of the blast outside Peshawar police headquarters on January 30, 2023.
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Rescuers rushed to clear mounds of rubble from the mosque grounds and reach worshipers still trapped under the rubble, police said. Khan said some of the injured were in critical condition in a hospital and there were fears the death toll could rise.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif in a statement condemned the bombing and ordered authorities to provide the victims with the best possible medical treatment. He also vowed “severe action” against those behind the attack.

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan also condemned the bombing, calling it a “terrorist suicide bombing” in a Twitter post. My prayers and condolences go out to the families of the victims. “It is imperative that we improve our intelligence gathering and properly equip our police forces to combat the growing threat of terrorism.”

Security officials inspect the site of a mosque blast at the police headquarters in Peshawar on January 30, 2023.
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Peshawar is the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, bordering Afghanistan, and has been the scene of frequent militant attacks.

The Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, are a separate group but also a close ally of the Afghan Taliban, who seized power in neighboring Afghanistan in August 2021 when US and NATO forces moved into the final phase of the battle. their withdrawal from the country after 20 years of war.

The TTP has waged an insurgency in Pakistan for the past 15 years, fighting for stricter enforcement of Islamic laws in the country, the release of their members held in government custody, and a reduction in Pakistan’s military presence in the former tribal areas of the country.