At least 25 people have been killed in an explosion at a mosque inside a police headquarters in Pakistan. 120 people were injured, said an official in the northwestern city of Peshawar near the Afghan border on Monday. "More and more bodies are coming in," a spokesman for the Peshawar hospital had previously told the AFP news agency, who initially spoke of 17 dead and more than 80 injured.
A police spokesman reported to the German Press Agency that at least 27 people had been killed and more than 140 injured.
An AFP journalist reported on emergency services carrying the dead into an ambulance. Accordingly, the roof and walls of the mosque had partially collapsed.
The explosion happened during midday prayers in the major city of Peshawar in the north-west of the country in a high-security zone. There are many police buildings in the area. According to the police, the explosion occurred in the second row of believers. Bomb experts are now examining the assumption that it could have been a suicide attack.
According to the police, many believers were still trapped in the building. Heavy machinery and firefighters searched the rubble for survivors. "I'm here on site and the rescue work is ongoing," said official Shafiullah Khan from the regional administration, who spoke of at least 25 dead. "More bodies are being retrieved. For now, our priority is to rescue the people buried under the rubble."
Initially, no one claimed responsibility for the alleged attack. At the end of last year, however, the Pakistani Taliban – which operate independently of the Islamist Taliban government in neighboring Afghanistan – canceled a ceasefire with the government in Islamabad. Since then, they have claimed responsibility for several attacks.
In March, a suicide bomber from the Islamic State (IS) jihadist militia carried out an attack on a mosque belonging to the Shiite minority in Peshawar, killing 64 people. It was the deadliest attack in Pakistan since 2018.
In Pakistan, the vast majority of the population of more than 230 million people is Muslim. About two million people live in the city of Peshawar.