The explosion occurred as worshippers gathered at the Kucha Risaldar mosque in Peshawar’s old city for Friday prayers.
A powerful bomb has exploded inside a Shia mosque in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar, killing more than 50 people and wounding dozens more, many of them critically.
The explosion occurred as worshippers had gathered in the Kucha Risaldar mosque in Peshawar’s old city area for Friday prayers.
Hospital officials said at least 56 people were killed, revising an earlier toll of 30 dead. At least 194 people were reported wounded. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Peshawar police chief Muhammed Ejaz Khan said the violence started when two armed attackers opened fire on police outside the mosque.
One assailant and one policeman were killed in the gun battle, and another policeman was wounded. The remaining attacker then entered the mosque and detonated a bomb.
A witness who identified himself as Naeem lives next door to the mosque.
“First I heard five to six gunshots and then I saw the suicide bomber enter the mosque and a huge explosion occurred,” told Al Jazeera. “The doors of my house opened with a bang and I fell down on the ground. When I entered the mosque, there was smoke and dust and people were lying in blood.”
The bomb disposal unit said about 5kg of explosives were used and ball bearings were added. Ambulances rushed through congested narrow streets and took the wounded to Lady Reading Hospital.
“We are in a state of emergency and the injured are being shifted to the hospital. We are investigating the nature of the blast but it seemed to be a suicide attack,” police officer Mohammad Sajjad Khan said.
Similar attacks have occurred in Peshawar – 190km (120 miles) west of the capital, Islamabad – located near the border with neighboring Afghanistan.
Shayan Haider, a witness, had been preparing to enter the mosque when the powerful explosion threw him to the street.