The suicide bomber who targeted a mosque inside a police compound in Peshawar, killing more than 80 people, was a member of the Pakistani Taliban disguised as a police officer, a senior official said on Thursday.
Moazzam Jah Ansari, the police chief of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said CCTV footage showed the suspected bomber arriving at a police post on a scooter on Monday, asking a constable for directions to a mosque, and wearing a uniform. Being me allowed him to go.
“It was a suicide bomber and we have tracked his movements. He was in police uniform,” Ansari said.
“We are closing in on the network. Every life of our martyrs will be avenged.
Ansari said officials had previously put the death toll at more than 100, but some bodies were counted twice. 217 were also injured in the blast.
This development comes a day after the police arrested several suspects in Peshawar.
Police believe the bomber used 12 kilograms (26.5 pounds) of explosives.
The video footage shows the damaged walls of the mosque, its glass windows and paneling being destroyed by the powerful blast.
Emergency workers searched for survivors, but officials said most of the people buried under the debris were already dead.
Monday’s blast highlighted the deteriorating security situation in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan and the site of frequent attacks by the Pakistani Taliban, known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP).
The TTP has sent conflicting messages on whether it was behind the attack.
TTP officials Sarbakif Mohmand and Umar Mukram Khorasani had earlier said the blast was “revenge” for the killing of TTP militant Khalid Khorasani last year.
But TTP’s central spokesperson Muhammad Khorasani later denied the group’s involvement.
The attack comes at a difficult time for Pakistan, which is also grappling with a livelihood crisis and a slumping economy exacerbated by last year’s devastating floods.
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