Islamic State claims responsibility for suicide attack that killed 56

Islamic State claims responsibility for suicide attack that killed 56

At least 56 people were killed and 194 wounded in a suicide attack, claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group, during Friday prayers against a Shiite mosque in Peshawar, northwestern Pakistan.

The blast came a few minutes before prayers were to begin at a Shiite mosque on a narrow street in the Kosha Risaldar neighborhood, near the historic Qissa Khwani bazaar.

“In total, 56 people died and 194 were injured. The injured include 50 critically ill patients,” Muhammad Asim Khan, a spokesman for Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, told AFP. A previous balance spoke of at least 30 deaths.

The number of casualties could rise, Peshawar police chief Muhamad Ijaz Khan told AFP.

“Two assailants shot at the policemen at the main gate of the mosque. One police officer was killed on the spot and the other was seriously injured,” he explained.

Later, the Islamic State jihadist group claimed responsibility for the attack through its propaganda agency, Amaq.

“An Islamic State kamikaze fighter managed to penetrate a Shiite mosque in Peshawar today [Friday]” and “detonated an explosives-laden belt in the midst of Shiites,” Amaq said in a statement released on social media.

A witness, Zahid Khan, told AFP what happened. “I was just outside the mosque when I saw a man shoot two policemen before entering the mosque. A few seconds later, I heard a big ‘bang’,” he said.

And Ali Asghar, another witness, said he saw a man “open fire with a gun” inside the mosque, and “kill people one by one and then blow himself up.”

An AFP reporter saw dismembered bodies at the scene, as rescue services and local people struggled to help the victims by carrying them on their shoulders.

Prime Minister Imran Khan “strongly condemned” the attack, according to one of his spokesmen.

Peshawar, about 50 km from the border with Afghanistan, was the scene of daily attacks during the first half of the 2010s, but in recent years security had greatly improved.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.