On Friday, i.e., 5 March 2022, at least 56 people were killed and 194 wounded in a suicide bomb at a Shia mosque in the north-western Pakistan city of Peshawar. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing.
The blast happened in the Kocha Risaldar area of the city, moments before Friday prayers were to start. It is also pertinent to know that it was the first day of a cricket Test match in Rawalpindi, between Pakistan and Australia, who have not toured the country in nearly a quarter of a century because of security concerns.
Peshawar is just 50 km from the porous border with Afghanistan. It had been a frequent target of militants in the early 2010s but security has greatly improved in recent years.
Muhammad Ali Saif, a spokesman for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government, told AFP that the blast was a “suicide attack” and numerous witnesses recounted the moment of detonation.
The head of Peshawar’s bomb disposal unit, Rab Nawaz Khan, said that the attacker detonated five to eight kilograms of “highly explosive TNT” packed with ball bearings to amplify the damage.
Peshawar police chief Muhammad Ijaz Khan said that two attackers were involved.
He also mentioned that two police officers were shot at the entrance of the mosque, one died on the spot while the other was critically injured.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s office said he “strongly condemned” the attack.