63 killed, over 157 injured in suicide blast in Peshawar

ISLAMABAD — The death toll from the suicide blast that ripped through a mosque on Monday afternoon in Pakistan’s northwest provincial capital of Peshawar rose to 63, an official told Xinhua.

Spokesperson of Lady Reading Hospital Muhammad Asim said on early Tuesday morning that the death toll rose after some injured succumbed to their injuries and more bodies were recovered from the debris of the mosque that collapsed following the blast.

The spokesperson added that at least 157 injured were still under treatment, out of which 12 to 15 were in critical condition at the hospital, fearing that the death toll might further rise.

The deceased included three police officers and other police personnel, civilians, the prayer leader and a woman who was residing in a house near the mosque. At least three of the victims have not been identified yet.

Spokesperson of Rescue-1122 Bilal Faizi told Xinhua that some people were still trapped under the rubble and were being traced and rescued carefully with the help of modern technology.

The rescue official added that they had already reached more trapped people and started providing them with medical aid, including oxygen.

Muhammad Ijaz Khan, capital city police officer of Peshawar in the northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, told Xinhua that over 300 people were praying in the mosque of the Police Lines area of the city when the blast happened, killing and wounding people including police officers.

He added that a big part of the mosque building collapsed after the powerful blast, trapping several worshippers.

The Police Lines area is located in Peshawar’s high-security zone where a large number of law enforcement agencies, including Frontier Corps and the counter-terrorism department of police, are situated.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said that the target of the suicide bomber was the police personnel whose department has been fighting terrorism.

The capital city police has termed the attack as a security lapse, adding that an inquiry had been initiated to find out how the bomber managed to sneak into the highly secured area.

Security forces had cordoned off the area and launched a full-fledged investigation into the incident. — (Xinhua)