(ISLAMABAD) — A suicide bomber detonated explosives inside a mosque in northwestern Pakistan on Monday, killing and wounding hundreds of worshippers, officials said.
The blast occurred at a Sunni mosque inside a major police facility in Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, not far from the country’s border with Afghanistan. More than 300 people were said to be praying there when the suicide bomber struck. An eyewitness told ABC News that the roof collapsed from the impact.
Security and government officials confirmed the explosion was from a suicide bomber. The Pakistan Taliban — known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP — have claimed responsibility for the attack.
At least 88 people were killed and more than 170 others were injured in the blast, a local hospital spokesperson told ABC News. Most of the wounded have since been discharged from the hospital but 65 remain for treatment. Many of the dead were police officers, according to the hospital spokesperson.
It was unclear how the suicide bomber was able to gain entry into the walled compound and get to the mosque. The facility also houses the police headquarters for Peshawar and is itself located in a high-security zone with other government buildings.
Pakistani Prime Minster Shehbaz Sharif, who visited the scene in Peshawar on Monday, condemned the bombing and urged people to donate blood to help save the wounded.
The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad also issued a statement condemning the “horrific attack.”
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