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Peshawar mosque suicide blast toll rises to 56

New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) A suicide blast inside a Shia mosque shook Peshawar’s Kocha Risaldar area on Friday, with officials saying that at least 56 people were killed and 194 were injured, Dawn reported.

Mohammad Asim, a spokesperson for Lady Reading Hospital (LRH), confirmed the casualties, adding that some of the injured were in critical condition.

Officials, who termed the incident a suicide attack, initially said that two attackers were involved. However, CCTV footage released later in the day showed a lone attacker clad in a black shalwar kameez reaching the mosque in the city’s Qissa Khwani Bazaar on foot and brandishing a pistol.

He opened fired on police personnel deployed outside the main entrance for security before running inside. The attacker also opened fire on a man who tried to stop him and managed to enter the mosque, where worshippers had gathered for Friday prayers, after which an explosion took place.

Talking to the media, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Inspector General of Police Moazzam Jah Ansari said two police officials were deputed at the mosque for security.

He said that one constable was killed while another police official was in critical condition. The senior police officer said that around five to six kilogrammes of explosive material was used, adding that there were no prior reports about the attack.

Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Peshawar Mohammad Ijaz Khan confirmed the chain of events, adding that one police official was killed in the gunfight outside the mosque.

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