A suicide bombing at a mosque in Pakistan on Monday left at least 59 dead and over 150 wounded in the city of Peshawar, according to officials.
Most of the casualties were police officers. It was not clear how the bomber was able to slip into the walled compound, which houses the northwestern city of Peshawar’s police headquarters and is itself located in a high-security zone with other government buildings.
Sarbakaf Mohmand, a commander for the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter.
Peshawar senior police official Saddique Khan said rescuers are attempting to take wounded people to a local hospital.
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The bomber carried out the attack inside the mosque, where more than 300 worshipers were praying Monday morning, according to police officials. There are concerns the death toll could rise as many of the wounded individuals were listed in critical condition.
The impact of the explosion collapsed the roof of the mosque, injuring people inside as it caved in.
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Police officer Meena Gul, who survived the attack, said he was inside the mosque when the bomb went off. He said he could hear cries and screams after the bomb exploded.
Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif visited the wounded in Peshawar and vowed “stern action” against those behind the bombing. He expressed his condolences to families of the victims, saying their pain “cannot be described in words.”
“The sheer scale of the human tragedy is unimaginable. This is no less than an attack on Pakistan,” Sharif tweeted.
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan called the bombing a “terrorist suicide attack” in a Twitter post.
Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, released a statement condemning the attack.
“It is particularly abhorrent that the attack occurred at a place of worship,” the statement said. “Freedom of religion or belief, including the ability to worship in peace and security, is a universal human right. The Secretary-General extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a prompt recovery to those injured.”
“The Secretary-General reiterates the solidarity of the United Nations with the Government and people of Pakistan in their efforts to address terrorism and violent extremism,” the statement continued.
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where the Pakistani Taliban have a strong presence, and the city has been the scene of frequent militant attacks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News