Pakistan mosque suicide bomber kills 47, wounds more than 150

AP / By Riaz Khan

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (second right), and Army Chief, General Asim Munir (second left), talk to an injured victim of the bombing. Photo / AP

A suicide bomber struck a crowded mosque inside a police compound in Pakistan, causing the roof to collapse and killing at least 47 people and wounding more than 150 others, officials said.

Most of the casualties were police officers. It was not clear how the bomber was able to slip into the walled compound, which houses the police headquarters in the northwestern city of Peshawar and is itself located in a high-security zone with other government buildings.

Sarbakaf Mohmand, a commander for the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter. The main spokesman for the militant group was not immediately available for comment.

Pakistan, which is mostly Sunni Muslim, has seen a surge in militant attacks since November, when the Pakistani Taliban ended their cease-fire with government forces. Monday’s assault on a Sunni Mosque was one of the deadliest attacks on security forces in recent years.

The militant group, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, is separate from but a close ally of the Afghan Taliban. The TTP has waged an insurgency in Pakistan in the past 15 years, seeking stricter enforcement of Islamic laws, the release of its members in government custody and a reduction in the Pakistani military presence in areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province it has long used as its base.

More than 300 worshippers were praying in the mosque, with more approaching, when the bomber set off his explosives vest. Many were injured when the roof came down, according to Zafar Khan, a police officer, and rescuers had to remove mounds of debris to reach worshippers still trapped under the rubble.

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