At least 90 people have been killed in Monday’s suicide bombing inside a mosque in the city of Peshawar, Pakistan. The attack was initially claimed by the Pakistani Taliban (TTP), but denied by its spokesperson later.
The attack happened when worshipers gathered to offer their midday prayers.
According to reports in the Pakistani media, at least 200 people wounded in the attacked were submitted to the Lady Reading Hospital in the city.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Caretaker Chief Minister, Muhammad Azam Khan, declared a day of mourning in the province.
It is one of the deadliest ever terror attacks on Pakistani forces. Two commanders of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including Umar Mukarram Khorasani who is a member of the TTP central leadership council, claimed responsibility for the attack, adding that it was “the fourth suicide attack” to avenge the killing of the group’s founder, Umar Khalid Khorasani, who was killed in a roadside bomb blast in August 2022 in Afghanistan.
However, in a statement, released on Twitter, late on Monday, Muhammad Khorasani, a spokesperson for the TTP, denied any involvement in the bombing. “I would like to make it clear Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has no role in the Peshawar incident,” the statement said. “Attacking mosques, seminaries, funerals and other sacred places is against our defined rules and principles and is a punishable act.”
The deadly attack drew worldwide condemnations, particularly from prominent Afghan politicians and the ruling Afghan Taliban. The Taliban Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a tweet late on Monday that it “condemns attacks on worshippers in mosques,” which “contradict the teachings” of Islam.
Inspired by the victory of the Afghan Taliban in Augsut 2021, the TTP dramatically increased its attack in Pakistan. In November 2022, a truce which was brokered by the Afghan Taliban in Kabul between the TTP and Pakistani government collapsed which was followed by increased violence in Pakistan.
Former presidents of Afghanistan, Hamdi Karzai and Ashraf Ghhani who usually blamed Pakistan for supporting the Afghan Taliban insurgency, also condemned the attack.