South Asia

Pakistan police probe possibility of ‘inside help’ in mosque bombing

Major arrests have been made in connection with the mosque bombing that killed over 100 people in Peshawar on Monday, police confirmed Wednesday. 

Citing the Peshawar police chief Ijaz Khan, Reuters reported that officers are investigating how the suicide bomber gained access to such a highly-secured police area.

According to Khan, the possibility of the bomber having had help in carrying out the attack could not be ruled out. 

On Wednesday, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Department issued a statement confirming that the death toll had risen to 101, after a critically injured worshiper succumbed to his injuries.

Health officials also said seven people were still in critical condition.

Meanwhile, rescue and recovery operations were still underway on Monday. 

The explosion ripped through the mosque in what is known as Peshawar’s Red Zone – a heavily fortified area that houses police and counter-terrorism departments. The mosque was also used mostly by police officers. 

At the time of the explosion, as many as 400 worshippers were thought to have been in the mosque, for afternoon prayers, and an entire wall and section of roof collapsed – leaving countless people trapped under the rubble. 

Dawn News reported that initially the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the bombing but later distanced itself from the incident. 

Speaking to Reuters, Peshawar’s police chief said however that major arrests have been made in connection with the bombing.

He also said police are investigating how the suicide bomber entered the highly-secured police area.

On Tuesday, the police set up two joint investigation teams (JITs) to probe the attack.

KP police chief Moazzam Jah Ansari told journalists that around 10 to 12 kilograms of explosives were used in the attack and that the explosives were parceled into the compound in small portions to avoid detection by security personnel deployed at the entrance of the facility.