Peshawar mosque attack: Toll rises to 70; Pak Taliban deny responsibility

The toll in the suicide attack inside a mosque in Pakistan’s Peshawar on Monday rose to 83, and more than 150 people have been injured, reported news agency Bloomberg citing officials.

The toll in the suicide attack inside a mosque in Pakistan’s Peshawar on Monday rose to 83, and more than 150 people have been injured, reported news agency AFP citing hospital officials. The Pakistan media, however, kept the death count to 72. Most of the casualties are police officers.

Here are the latest updates on the Peshawar suicide attack:

1. According to Peshawar police chief Mohammad Ijaz Khan, around 300 to 400 people from different offices gather for prayers at the mosque every day.

2. Over 300 worshippers were praying in the mosque when the explosion took place. “Rescuers had to remove mounds of debris to reach worshippers who were still trapped under the rubble,” the police added.

3. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa caretaker chief minister Muhammad Azam Khan has announced a day of mourning in the province on Tuesday in view of the deadly attack. The national flag will be at half-mast across the province, he said.

4. A commander for the Pakistan Taliban – also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP – Sarbakaf Mohmand on Monday claimed the responsibility for the attack in a post on Twitter. However, hours later, TTP spokesperson Mohammad Khurasani said their policy “does not include targeting mosques, seminaries, and religious places”, reported AP.

5. UN chief António Guterres on Tuesday condemned the attack. “My condolences to the families of the victims of Monday’s suicide bombing at a mosque in Pakistan. It is abhorrent that the attack occurred at a place of worship. Freedom of religion or belief, including the ability to worship in peace & security, is a universal human right,” he tweeted.

6. Earlier on Monday, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited the Lady Reading Hospital and met the injured victims. “The sheer scale of the human tragedy is unimaginable. This is no less than an attack on Pakistan. The nation is overwhelmed by a deep sense of grief. I have no doubt terrorism is our foremost national security challenge,” he tweeted. He added, “My message to the perpetrators of today’s despicable incident is that you can’t underestimate the resolve of our people.”

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