At least 19 people killed, more than 50 injured, in attack on Shia mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan medical sources say.
by Al Jazeera
An attack on a Shia mosque in Peshawar has killed at least 19 people and injured more than 50 others, hospital sources said.
At least four suicide bombers, wearing uniforms of security forces, hit the Imamia mosque during Friday prayers, officials said.
Three of them succeeded in exploding their vests, while one was unable to do so. His unexploded vest was defused by Peshawar’s bomb disposal unit.
Senior police official Rana Umer Hayat said several gunmen threw grenades before storming the mosque.
Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said: “The police and military forces that surrounded the area have now cleared the area, and are combing nearby areas for any attackers that may have escaped.”
Helicopters were visible overhead, as security forces combed the streets around the blast site in a bid to find one of the attackers.
At least four suicide bombers hit the mosque during Friday prayers. Three of them succeeded in exploding their vests, while one was unable to do so.
Several unexploded grenades were also recovered from the site, Shafqat Malik, senior police officer and head of bomb disposal unit, said.
The attackers appeared to gain access to the mosque, which is under tight security, from an under-construction building next door.
“They cut razor wire on the boundary wall to gain access,” provincial police chief Nasir Durrani said.
Asked whether there was a specific threat against this mosque, Durrani said: “The operation in Zarb-e-Azb and in Khyber agency [against the Taliban] is ongoing. We are in a war state.”
This is the third attack against a Shia mosque since the attack on a Peshawar school killed more than 141 people on December 16.
The last attack took place two weeks ago, also during Friday prayers, at a Shia mosque in the town of Shikarpur, killing at least 60 people.