A deadly blast thought to be caused by a suicide bomber inside a mosque in a compound containing a police station and a counter-terrorism office rocked Peshawar, Pakistan Monday afternoon local time. At least 27 bodies were pulled from the rubble and around 150 people treated for injuries after the blast caused part of the two-story structure to collapse during morning prayers. Many of the injured and dead are believed to be police officers attending afternoon prayers.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif did not confirm the source of the blast, but said those behind it “have nothing to do with Islam,” he said in a statement. “The brutal killing of Muslims prostrating before Allah is against the teachings of the Quran,” the statement says. “Terrorists want to create fear by targeting those who perform the duty of defending Pakistan.”
Police say around 260 people were inside at the time of the explosion.“A portion of the building had collapsed and several people are believed to be under,” police official Sikandar Khan said, according to local news reports.
Eyewitnesses reported seeing injured people fleeing the scene. Police told local news outlets that many are feared trapped under the rubble of the collapsed structure. “We received 19 dead and over 90 injured from the Peshawar Police Lines blast,” Mohammad Asim, a spokesman for Lady Reading Hospital, said, according to Reuters. “Many others are in critical condition.”
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing. Peshawar is the capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
This story is developing.