At least 28 people have died and around 150 wounded in a suspected suicide bomb attack on a mosque located in Peshawar’s Police Lines area during Monday afternoon prayers.
According to security officials, a large number of people were present at the mosque when the attack took place, with the blast causing the roof of the building to collapse.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for what appears to be one of the worst suicide attacks in the country in recent years, although the Pakistani Taliban have been blamed for similar suicide attacks in the past.
“A portion of the building collapsed and several people are believed to be under it,” police official Sikandar Khan told Reuters earlier.
Spokesperson Mohammad Asim said the Lady Reading Hospital of Peshawar was taking in the majority of the victims and that the area has been cordoned off with only ambulances allowed to enter.
The blast took place at 1.40pm, according to local media outlets.
Reacting to the reports, Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan expressed his condolences for the victims and called for improvements to the country’s intelligence gathering to prevent such attacks.
“Strongly condemn the terrorist suicide attack in Police Lines mosque Peshawar during prayers,” the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party chief wrote on Twitter. “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.”
This is one of the latest incidents of a deadly bombing in Pakistan which has been a target of terror groups for decades. A recent report by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) stated that in 2022 alone, the South Asian nation witnessed 376 terror attacks, in which 533 people were killed.
Last year, a suicide blast inside a Shia mosque in Peshawar’s Kocha Risaldar area killed 63 people.