57 martyred, 195 injured in gun-and-bomb attack on Peshawar Imambargah

Policeman among the fatalities: Over 190 injured: Police officer said it could be suicide blast

By: News Desk
Published: 02:23 PM, 4 Mar, 2022
57 martyred, 195 injured in gun-and-bomb attack on Peshawar Imambargah
Caption: Security personnel inspect a mosque after a gun-and-bomb attack in Peshawar.–AFP
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As many as 57 people, including an Imam and two policemen, were martyred and 195 others sustained injuries in a gun-and-bomb attack on a Shia mosque during Juma congregation in Kucha Risaldar area of Peshawar on Friday, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Earlier, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed had confirmed that over 40 people were martyred and more than 60 injured in the terrorist attack.

Rescue 1122 officials had also told the media that rescue activities were underway in the area and the injured had been rushed to Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital.

“We have declared an emergency at the hospital,” said Muhammad Asim Khan, a spokesman for Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital, confirming the death toll above 30.

Peshawar SSP Operations Haroon Al-Rasheed said that the blast appeared to be a suicide one but confirmation would come after investigation. “There were two security personnel deputed at the entrance of the mosque. One of them died during the exchange of fire while the other is seriously injured.”

Peshawar Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Muhammad Ijaz Khan said before the explosion, two armed terrorists tried to force their way into the mosque but the policemen deployed there challenged them. In the ensuing gun-battle, one police officer was martyred while another was injured. He also succumbed to his injuries later.

The CCPO said that the bomb exploded in the mosque after attack on police officials.

He also stated that the police high-ups had reached the site of the blast, adding that evidence had also been collected from there. “It is too early to say anything about motive behind the blast. Media will be informed about latest developments,” he added.

Local police official Waheed Khan said the explosion occurred as worshippers had gathered in the Kucha Risaldar mosque in Peshawar’s old city for Friday prayers.

Ambulances rushed through congested narrow streets carrying the wounded to Lady Reading Hospital, where doctors worked feverishly. “10 injured are in critical condition,” according to a hospital spokesperson.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, but both the Islamic State group and a TTP had carried out similar attacks in the past.

Witnesses said the blast happened during the Friday prayers.

Shayan Haider, a witness, was preparing to enter the mosque when a powerful explosion threw him to the street. “I opened my eyes and there was dust and bodies everywhere,” he said.

At the emergency ward of Lady Reading Hospital, there was chaos as doctors struggled to move the many wounded into operating theatres.

Monetary assistance

Spokesman for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif said that security was provided to mosques as a general rule. He maintained that the administration had adopted security measures at the mosque as well, adding that such measures were always ensured during congregation prayers on Fridays.

“Those martyred and injured in the attack will be given monetary assistance under the government’s special package,” he said.

PM Imran, Zardari condemn

Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the blast in the mosque. He ordered immediate steps for medical aid to the injured and also sought a report on the incident.

Former president Asif Ali Zardari also vehemently condemned the bomb blast in Peshawar’s mosque and said: “Had the terrorists’ nurseries been eliminated, this incident would not have taken place.”

He added that terrorists were the enemies of the country and the nation, and they were needed to be crushed as an enemy.

He prayed for early recovery of the injured in the blast and stressed the need for implementing the National Action Plan in letter and spirit. He also sought stern action against the terrorists involved in the bomb blast and their facilitators.

Condemnations from foreign embassies

The Embassy of United States (US) in Islamabad vehemently condemned the bomb blast inside a Shia mosque in Peshawar and termed it a ghastly and cowardly attack. US Charge d’affaires Angela Aggeler expressed condolences to the families whose loved ones were martyred in the bomb blast.

German Ambassador Bernhard Schlagheck also expressed his grief over the ghastly terrorist attack in Peshawar. He expressed deep condolences to the families of the martyred and said that he and all his colleagues in the German embassy prayed for early recovery of the injured.

The Embassy of France also condemned the bomb blast in Peshawar and expressed condolences to the bereaved families.

Reporter Syed Azmat Ali Shah