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Explosion at Pakistani mosque kills at least 48, injures many others

 UPI News logo: MainLogo UPI News 1/30/2023 Clyde Hughes
Rescue workers at the scene of a blast at a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Monday. Photo by Bilawal Arbab/EPA-EFE © Bilawal Arbab/EPA-EFE Rescue workers at the scene of a blast at a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Monday. Photo by Bilawal Arbab/EPA-EFE

Jan. 30 (UPI) -- At least 48 people died during an explosion inside a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Monday, and the Pakistani Taliban, a terrorist organization believed to have close ties with al-Qaida, took responsibility for the bombing.

A suicide bomber allegedly detonated an explosive vest during crowded afternoon prayer at the Police Lines Mosque, officials said. About 150 were injured in the attack, some in critical condition.

The Pakistani Taliban, also known as the TTP, has conducted an insurgency for the past 15 years inside the country, but their attacks have increased since November, when they called off a cease-fire.

The militant group, which calls for stricter enforcement of Islamic laws, said it struck the mosque as revenge for one of its fighters being killed in Afghanistan in 2022. Officials initially reported 32 deaths but that total was updated as a search for victims continued.

Peshawar Commissioner Riaz Mehsood said emergency crews continued their work Monday.

"An emergency has been imposed at hospitals across the city and injured persons are being provided the best medical facilities," Mehsood said.

Lady Reading Hospital spokesman Mohammad Asim said some of the people injured were listed in critical condition, but an exact number was not given.

Peshawar Capital City Police Officer Muhammad Ijaz Khan said the mosque's roof and the main hall of the building collapsed.

"A number of Jwans are still stuck under the rubble and rescuers are trying to pull them out," said Khan.

"[Those involved] have nothing to do with Islam," Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said. "The entire nation is standing united against the menace of terrorism."

Pakistan's former leader Imran Khan, called for improved communications and upgraded intelligence "to combat the growing threat of terrorism."


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