The death toll from the suicide blast rose to at least 100 on Tuesday after rescue workers retrieved more bodies from the debris of the devastated mosque inside a major police facility in Peshawar.
According to security officials, the suicide bomber who was present in the front row during the Zuhr (afternoon) prayers on Monday blew himself up, causing the roof to collapse on the worshippers.
Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) spokesperson Mohammad Asim said that 100 bodies had been brought to the medical facility. Asim said 53 injured were currently being treated while seven had been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).
He said that most of the injured were out of danger. Most of the victims were policemen. At least a deputy superintendent of police, five sub-inspectors and the mosque’s prayer leader Maulana Sahibzada Noorul Amin were among the dead.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), known as the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the suicide attack, saying it was part of a revenge attack for slain TTP commander Umar Khalid Khurasani who was killed in Afghanistan in August last year.
According to the Police Control Room, Peshawar, more than two hundred injured worshippers were brought to the hospital.
Capital City Police Officer, Peshawar (CCPO) Ejaz Khan told Geo TV that the head of the suspected suicide bomber was recovered from the blast site.
The suspected bomber was identified as 37-year-old Mohammed Ayaz son of Salim Khan from Mohmand agency.
“It is possible that the attacker was already present in the Police Lines before the blast and that he may have used an official vehicle [to enter],” he said.
“(The) CTD is investigating the case,” he said.
He said many policemen were still trapped under the rubble.
“Close to 300-400 policemen usually offer prayer at the Zuhr time. If a blast has taken place inside police lines then it is a security lapse but an investigation into the matter can reveal further,” he said.
The bomber entered the highly secured mosque inside police lines where four layers of security were in place.
Provincial police chief Moazzam Jah Ansari said they are investigating the blast and how the bomber entered the highly fortified mosque in the Police Lines area.
He expressed the apprehensions that the bomber might have been residing in the police lines before the blast as there are family quarters too inside the police lines.
Ansari admitted grave security lapses by the police and ordered a comprehensive investigation into the blast.
Talking to the media here on Tuesday, he said that the search process for entrance to police lines was limited only to the main gate of the police lines.
He said 10-12 kg explosives were used in the blast.