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20 killed, 50 injured as Taliban storm Shia mosque in Pakistan

Grenade-toting militants attacked a Shiite mosque in northwest Pakistan on Friday, police said, killing at least 19 people and wounding dozens more, with fighting still ongoing. Television reports said the militants were also holding hostages.

world Updated: Feb 14, 2015 16:23 IST
Peshawar,Shiite mosque,northwest Pakistan

Twenty people were killed and over fifty injured in multiple explosions at a Shia mosque in Peshawar which suicide attackers wearing police uniforms attacked during Friday prayers. Banned militant organisation Jundullah, a splinter group of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the attack. The group said it was revenge for the hanging of a militant known as Doctor Usman. The militant was hanged in December 2014.

The attackers first threw grenades into the mosque and then after neutralizing the guards stationed outside, entered and shot at worshippers. While two attackers detonated their jackets, the third suicide attacker, however, was prevented from exploding his suicide vest by those gathered there, according to the local police chief.

A statement by Jundullah that was sent to media houses said that the attack was a series to “take blood for blood which will continue and that the government should expect more and even harder responses in the future.”

“People here showed great courage. They grabbed one of the attackers from his neck, and he couldn’t detonate (his explosives), and he was shot and killed,” said the head of the provincial police, Nasir Durrani.

Some people who fled the mosque reported that at least some of the attackers were wearing security uniforms.

“The prayer was about to end when a big bang happened, followed by dust and smoke. I have seen amid the smoke that one guy dressed in police uniform was firing shots and then there was another blast,” said one of the wounded, 22-year-old Syed Javed Hasan, speaking from his hospital bed.

The attack comes exactly two weeks after a suicide bombing inside a packed Shia mosque in Pakistan’s Sindh province during the Friday prayers killed 61 people, including children.

The Imambargah is situated close to several government buildings, including the local passport centre and the Federal Investigation Agency offices.

First Published: Feb 13, 2015 15:10 IST