Bombing at Shia Mosque in Pakistan kills over 60, Claimed by ISIS

On Friday, March 4, a Shia mosque in Peshawar, northwestern Pakistan, was attacked by a suicide bomber. The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack that left at least 63 dead and 196 injured, mostly in critical conditions. The attack happened during a Friday worship service in the Kucha Risaldar mosque, causing massive casualties.

Muhammed Ejaz Khan, chief of Peshawar police, said two attackers fired at police officers outside the mosque. One of the attackers and a police officer were killed. The remaining attacker went inside the mosque and detonated the bomb. “The attacker went inside then set off the explosives on him,” Khan explained.

Haroon Rasheed, a senior police official, added that the remaining attacker “entered the mosque and started firing on the worshippers” before blowing himself up.

In a post from Amaq, an ISIS-affiliated news organization, the militant group claimed responsibility for the attack. ISIS claimed that they trained the suicide bombers to attack during Friday prayers. The recent suicide bombing is one of the most significant attacks carried out by ISIS inside Pakistan.

A witness named Naem lived next to the mosque and was interviewed by Aljazeera,

“First I heard five to six gunshots, and then I saw the suicide bomber enter the mosque, and a huge explosion occurred,” Naem told Aljazeera. Naem added that the door to his house was opened due to the force of the explosion.

“When I entered the mosque, there was smoke and dust, and people were lying in blood,” Naem added. Moazzam Jah Ansari, a senior police official of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said the bomb was packed with 5kg of explosives. Shrapnels, like ball bearings, were also used, causing massive casualties.

Imran Khan, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, in a Tweet on Friday called the incident a “cowardly terrorist attack.” Khan said Pakistan’s intelligence agencies have “all the information regarding the origins of where the terrorists came from.” We “are going after them with full force,” he added.

The Shia Muslim minority in Pakistan have been targeted consistently by dominant Muslim groups, including an offshoot of the Taliban, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). However, Reuters reported that the Pakistani Taliban had distanced themselves from the attack.

Sardar Hussain lost three relatives in the attack. Hussain said Kucha Risaldar mosque is the only place of worship for the Shia community in Peshawar. Victims were brought to the Lady Reading Hospital.

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