Death toll climbs to 63 in deadly Pakistan mosque attack - GulfToday

Death toll climbs to 63 in deadly Pakistan mosque attack


People stand amid the damages at the prayer hall in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Friday. Reuters

Gulf Today Report

Officials vowed on Saturday to hunt down and arrest the masterminds behind a deadly mosque attack in Pakistan a day earlier claimed by a Daesh affiliate. The assault killed 63 people and wounded nearly 200.

Daesh said in a statement the lone suicide bomber was from neighbouring Afghanistan. He shot two police guarding the Shiite Muslim mosque in northwest Peshawar before entering inside and exploding his device, it said. The attack took place as worshipers knelt in Friday prayer.


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The Daesh affiliate, known as Daesh in Khorasan Province, is headquartered in eastern Afghanistan.

The Taliban rulers in Afghanistan, who have been fighting Daesh, condemned the attack. Daesh has proven to be the Taliban's greatest security threat since sweeping into power last August.

"We condemn the bombing of a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan. There is no justification for attacking civilians and worshipers," Taliban Deputy Minister for Culture and Information Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted. He refused to comment on the Daesh claim that the suicide bomber was Afghan.

A man walks amid the damage at the prayer hall after a bomb blast inside a mosque in Peshawar. Reuters

The Daesh affiliate in the region known as Daesh in Khorasan province and headquartered in Afghanistan claimed Friday's devastating attack in a statement translated by the SITE Intelligence group.

The statement was posted on the group's Amaq News Agency. The statement identified the attacker as Afghan, posted his picture and said "Daesh fighters are constantly targeting Shi’ites living in Pakistan and Afghanistan despite the intense security measures adopted by the Taliban militia and the Pakistani police to secure Shi’a temples and centers.”

The carnage at the mosque buried deep inside the narrow streets of Peshawar's old city was horrific.

Mourners carry the coffins of blast victims during their funeral in Peshawar on Friday. AFP

According to the spokesman at Peshawar's Lady Reading Hospital, Asim Khan, many of the wounded were in critical condition. Scores of victims were peppered with shrapnel, several had limbs amputated and others were injured by flying debris.

Peshawar Police Chief Muhammed Ejaz Khan said the violence started when an armed attacker opened fire on police outside the mosque in Peshawar’s old city. One policeman was killed in the gunfight, and another police officer was wounded. The attacker then ran inside the mosque and detonated his suicide vest.

The suicide bomber had strapped a powerful explosive device to his body, packed with 5 kilogrammes (12 pounds) of explosives, said Moazzam Jah Ansari, the top police official for Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province where Peshawar is the capital.



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