After the devastating suicide attack in a mosque in Pakistan, the police have released details about the alleged attacker. The police chief of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Moazzam Jah Ansari, said on Thursday on state television that he had entered the building in a police uniform. It is also known that the attacker was on the premises on a motorcycle and was wearing a mask and helmet. The security forces present did not check the man because they mistook him for a colleague because of his police uniform, Ansari said.
On Monday, an assassin detonated an explosive vest in the midst of believers in the north-western city of Peshawar. According to official figures, more than 100 people died and 225 others were injured. The affected mosque is part of a police facility located in a high-security zone with other government buildings. Many police officers were among the victims.
Ansari spoke of a "security margin". The attacker carried around 12 kilos of explosive material. Part of the roof of the mosque collapsed from the force of the blast. The assassin was identified through video footage. According to the current state of investigation, the police assume that there is a "network" behind the crime. However, it is not yet known which group could be behind it. A commander of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. A few hours later, a spokesman for the umbrella organization of the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) distanced himself from the attack on behalf of the TTP.
At the end of last year, the TTP canceled a ceasefire with the government in Islamabad and has since claimed responsibility for several attacks. The Pakistani Taliban are independent of the Islamist Taliban government in neighboring Afghanistan. The city of Peshawar has had a history of attacks, including in 2014 when a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban attacked an army-run school, killing 154 people - most of them schoolchildren.