Monday’s deadly explosion inside a mosque in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar may have been a suicide attack, according to authorities.
The powerful blast killed at least 31 people and injured 125, according to Peshawar Deputy Commissioner Shafiullah Khan.
The rescue operation is currently taking place inside the mosque, which is located in a police compound in the city, and is mostly attended by law enforcement officers.
So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place during afternoon prayers.
Peshawar police chief Mohammad Ajaz Khan said in a statement to CNN that the explosion inside the police mosque “could have been a suicide attack,” echoing the sentiments of Pakistani Prime Minister Sheikh Baz Sharif. statement.
“The brutal killing of Muslims who bow before Allah violates the teachings of the Qur’an,” Sharif said in a statement, adding that “targeting the house of Allah proves that the attackers had nothing to do with Islam.”
“The terrorists want to create fear by targeting those who carry out their duty to defend Pakistan,” the prime minister continued.
“Those who fought against Pakistan will be removed from the page.”
Sharif went on to say that “the entire country and institutions are united to end terrorism” and that a “comprehensive strategy” is being developed to restore law and order in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where Peshawar is located.
Former Pakistani leader Imran Khan (who controls the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtuwa with the Pakistani Justice Movement and Insaf Party) also condemned the blast on Twitter, saying “we must improve intelligence gathering and Properly equip our police force to deal with the growing threat of terrorism.”