Mosque bombed in northwest Pakistan
In a Shia mosque in Peshawar, the north-western city of Pakistan, a powerful bomb got exploded on Friday causing major destruction and several casualties. At least 56 people were killed and 194 were injured.
The casualties were confirmed by Mohammad Asim, a spokesperson for Lady Reading Hospital (LRH). He informed that most of the injured people were in critical condition.
At first, it was reported by the officials at the incident that there were two attackers involved but then CCTV confirmed that only one attacker was there outside and then he went inside the mosque. The attacker was a suicide bomber who at first opened fire and then detonated his suicide vest inside the mosque. The incident began when an armed assailant began shooting at police near a mosque in Peshawar’s old city, according to Peshawar Police Chief Muhammed Ejaz Khan. During the firefight, one police officer was killed and several were injured. After then, the assailant dashed into the mosque and blew up his suicide vest.
According to Moazzam Jah Ansari, the chief police officer for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the suicide attacker had attached a strong explosive device to his chest, loaded with 5 kilos (12 pounds) of explosive materials. As per the CCTV video viewed by The Associated Press, the gadget was disguised behind a thick black shawl that concealed much of the attacker’s torso.
The attacker was seen sprinting along a small lane toward the mosque’s doorway. Before approaching the mosque, he opened fire on the cops who were guarding it. Ball bearings were put into the roughly made explosive, a lethal manner of building a bomb to inflict the maximum devastation by showering a greater scope with devastating projectiles. The huge mortality toll was due to the ball bearings.
Ambulances hurried out through packed streets, transporting the injured to Lady Reading Hospital, where physicians performed tirelessly. The witnesses of the incident confirmed that there were a minimum of 150 worshippers in the mosque at the time of the blast. Few of the witnesses that were interviewed said that the blast was massive.
A witness said that as and when he was about to enter the mosque, the explosion threw him to the street. There was a lot of dust and bodies around him. The hospital staff said that the doctors battled to get the numerous injured into operating rooms, causing havoc. Hundreds of families gathered outside the emergency room, several of them were sobbing and beating their chests as they pleaded for news on their family members.
Australia’s cricket tour in Pakistan
Cricket Australia is believed to be watching the scenario in Pakistan following a bomb incident on Friday in Peshwar, which is 187 kilometres and about three hours away from Rawalpindi, where the first Test match between Pakistan and Australia began on Friday at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.
Safety has always been a big worry for any international cricket team visiting Pakistan. After a bomb occurred near their hotel in Karachi in 2002, New Zealand abruptly ended their visit to Pakistan. The cricketing community also recalls the 2009 incident in Lahore, once the Sri Lankan cricket team’s bus was attacked by terrorists, and Pakistan was forced to withdraw as an international host for a decade.
The act shocked the cricketing community, and Cricket Australia (CA) was keeping a tight eye on the issue. Teams like New Zealand and England have previously declined to play in Pakistan, provoking the country’s fury, while Australian bowler Ashton Agar has received a death threat ahead of the series.
For now, there hasn’t been any effect of the attack on the cricket series. Australia’s current schedule does not include Peshawar, and the touring players have been granted presidential protection for the month-long stay. The Sydney Morning Herald said that Australian team officials were keeping an eye on the news and communicating with the country’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Pakistan has held six Tests since the 2009 event, with the current match in Rawalpindi being the sixth. Both the CA and the Pakistan Cricket Board have worked hard to make the tournament a reality, and they will do all possible to guarantee that the tour does not get disrupted in the midst.
This incident led the public to question their safety in Pakistan, especially the Shia community. They believe that the attack was planned to target the Shia community.
On the other hand, as per SITE Intelligence Group’s interpretation of an ISIS statement, the Islamic State’s regional offshoot, Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K, bears responsibility. The explosion, according to the statement, was carried out by an Afghan suicide bomber. The Islamic State, a Sunni Muslim terrorist group that views Shias to be heretics, has claimed responsibility for several past assaults in Pakistan, but the mosque blast was the worst and cruelest to yet.
In 2015, the Islamic State of Khorasan declared its foundation in eastern Afghanistan, headed by former Pakistani Taliban fighters. ISIS-K established a distinct Pakistani cell in May 2019, which has conducted assaults against ethnic Hazara Shiites in Baluchistan Province. Security personnel in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, have charged the terrorist organization with attacking other religious minorities, including Sikhs and a Christian priest.
The police and investigating agencies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa stated they used torn feet to identify and locate additional persons involved. According to one source, three suspects have been recognized. Security authorities before Islamic State accepted credit for the incident, which was carried out by the IS’s Khorasan chapter. The new incident comes as Pakistan remains on the FATF’s grey list of money laundering countries, even though the FATF has encouraged Pakistan’s authorities to do enough to prosecute UN-designated terror groups.