A deadly blast inside a mosque in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar Monday was likely a suicide attack, according to authorities.
The powerful explosion left at least 34 people dead and 125 injured, according to Peshawar deputy commissioner Shafiullah Khan.
Rescue operations are now underway inside the mosque, which is situated inside a police compound in the city and is mostly attended by law enforcement officials.
No claims of responsibility have been made in relation to the attack so far, which took place in the middle of afternoon prayers.
In a statement to News84Media, Peshawar Police Chief Mohammad Aijaz Khan said the blast inside the Police Lines Mosque was “probably a suicide attack,” echoing Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
“The brutal killing of Muslims prostrating before Allah is against the teachings of the Quran,” Sharif said in a statement, adding that “targeting the House of Allah is proof that the attackers have nothing to do with Islam.”
“Terrorists want to create fear by targeting those who perform the duty of defending Pakistan,” the prime minister continued.
“Those who fight against Pakistan will be erased from the page.”
Sharif went on to say that “the entire nation and institutions are united to end terrorism” and that there’s a “comprehensive strategy” in the works in order to restore law and order in the northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where Peshawar is located.
Pakistan’s former leader Imran Khan, whose party the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf holds the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkwa also condemned the blast saying in a tweet that “it is imperative we improve our intelligence gathering & properly equip our police forces to combat the growing threat of terrorism.”