Bombing at Pakistani Mosque Kills Over 100, Injures Over 200

On January 30th, an Islamist suicide bombing occurred inside a Peshawar, Pakistan, mosque. As the number of victims rose throughout the day, police and rescue officials had reached a final death toll of 101 within 24 hours. Many of the victims were crushed under the collapsed roof. Over 200 were injured.

In a Twitter post, Sarbakaf Mohmand, one of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commanders of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the bombing.

However, hours later, the main TTP group, via its spokesperson, denied involvement in the attack and said that targeting mosques, seminaries, and religious places is not in its policies. It also mentioned that those who participate in these acts could be punished.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif went to the wounded in Peshawar. He then grieved for the victims and expressed his condolences to their families. He said that their pain is something that "cannot be described in words."

After visiting, the Prime Minister posted on Twitter, "The sheer scale of the human tragedy is unimaginable. This is no less than an attack on Pakistan," and promised that "stern actions" would be taken against those who are responsible for the bombing.

The mosque that was attacked is located in a high-security zone. Most of the dead were police officers. There was speculation about how an attacker could move freely around so many checkpoints. A few days later, police chief Moazzam Jah Ansari informed the media that the attacker had been identified on CCTV footage. The attacker, who is confirmed dead, had worn a police uniform and had been waved through by security “thinking he was one of their own.” 

On February 1, news outlets reported that several arrests had taken place. Peshawar Police Chief Mohammad Aijaz Kahn said that more would follow as the investigation continues. Families of police officers who live in the compound close to the mosque are being interrogated as police try to ascertain if an internal plot had been carried out. 

The attack was one of the deadliest on security forces. More than 300 worshippers were inside the mosque praying when the bomb was set off. 

The Foreign Ministry of Afghanistan condemned the attack on the worshippers. The ministry said it was "saddened to learn that numerous people lost their lives and many others were injured by an explosion at a mosque in Peshawar."

Both the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad and the U.S. Embassy also condemned the attack and added, "The United States stands with Pakistan in condemning all forms of terrorism."

Imran Khan, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, tweeted, "My prayers & condolences go to victims' families. It is imperative we improve our intelligence gathering & properly equip our police forces to combat the growing threat of terrorism."

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