No less than 27 worshippers have been confirmed dead and over 145 severely injured from a bomb explosion in a mosque in Pakistan on Monday.
The attack happened during afternoon worship in the provincial capital of Peshawar, close to former tribal areas that border Afghanistan where militancy has been steadily rising.
The force of the blast blew off an entire wall in the mosque and some of the roof. Those people who survived the explosion were covered in blood and were seen limping their way out of the wreckage. The bodies of those who lost their lives have been recovered from the rubbles and taken away by the ambulance as rescue operations are still on.
According to an eyewitness, Shahid Ali, a policeman who survived, recounted what happened to the AFP.
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He said the explosion took place seconds after the imam started prayers.
“I saw black smoke rising to the sky. I ran out to save my life,” the 47-year-old told AFP.
“The screams of the people are still echoing in my mind,” he added. “People were screaming for help.”
Ghulam Ali, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor put the death toll at 28 and 150 wounded, most of them policemen.
“Many policemen are buried under the rubble,” said Muhammad Ijaz Khan, Peshawar police chief who estimated between 300 and 400 officers usually attended prayers at the mosque.
“Efforts are being made to get them out safely,” he said.