Pakistan attack death toll rises to 100

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – Distressed families wandered the corridors of hospitals in Peshawar on Tuesday, the day after a suicide bombing at a mosque in police headquarters left at least 100 people dead, almost all of them police, and 170 injured.

This spectacular attack illustrates the deterioration of the security situation in this city in northwestern Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan.

A provincial official, Riaz Mahsud, warned that the death toll was likely to rise further, as relief workers worked to clear the debris from the second floor of the mosque which collapsed on the hundreds of worshipers massed in the building. ground floor for midday prayer.

“As of now, 100 bodies have been taken to Lady Reading Hospital,” a spokesman for Peshawar’s main hospital, Mohammed Asim, said in a statement.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told parliament that 97 of the 100 victims were police officers. He implicated a dissident group of the Pakistani Taliban (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, TTP), who for their part denied any responsibility.

Authorities do not know how the suicide bomber managed to enter the mosque with such powerful explosives, after passing through several checkpoints at the highly secure compound that houses the Peshawar police headquarters and an anti-terrorist unit.

The last major attack in Peshawar, in March 2022, was claimed by the Islamic State, another group active in the Pashtun tribal areas.

(Report by Jibran Ahmad, French version Tangi Salaün, edited by Blandine Hénault)

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