At least 260 people were in the building for midday prayer at the time of the blast. Some Pakistani Taliban's accounts claimed responsibility for the attack. Experts expect violence to increase in the coming months.
Peshawar (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A suicide bombing killed at least 32 people, wounding more than 145, in a mosque in Peshawar, north-western Pakistan, in a suicide attack.
This is the deadliest attack since March 2022, when 58 people were killed and almost 200 wounded in an attack later claimed by the Islamic State group.
At least 260 people were in the mosque for midday prayers at the time of the explosion, police official Sikandar Khan said.
The blast ripped through the two-storey building, causing part of the roof to cave in on top of worshippers.
The mosque is located in a compound that includes a provincial police station and a counterterrorist office.
Pakistan's Defence Minister, Khawaja Asif, said the suicide bomber was in the front row during prayers.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan (TTP), the Pakistani Taliban are active in Peshawar and neighbouring tribal areas, on the border with Afghanistan. Its aim is the overthrow of the Pakistani government and the imposition of Islamic law, as their “cousins” did in Afghanistan in August 2021.
Several attempts at peace talks between the government and the TTP have been made but they have all failed.
Last month, the terrorist group seized a counterterrorism centre taking hostages to negotiate with government authorities.
It claims to have carried out more than 360 attacks in 2022, up 27 per cent over the previous year, mainly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with more than a thousand dead and wounded.
In December alone, the TTP carried out 69 attacks, killing 87 law enforcement officers and wounding 119.
Experts predict that 2023 will be an even more violent year in terms of attacks against government targets since the group has had time to reorganise after peace talks failed.