An explosion struck Monday inside a mosque in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, bringing down one of its walls and killing at least 28 people and wounding more than 65, according to Mohammad Asim, a spokesman at Lady Reading Hospital, a major hospital in the city.
A local journalist, Iftikhar Firdous, said rescuers were still trying to pull six wounded out of the rubble.
The blast was likely caused by a suicide bomber, according to Pakistan’s interior minister Rana Sanaullah, who spoke at a press conference. Local media reported that the bomber had joined worshippers for early afternoon prayers in the mosque.
The blast occurred in a crowded mosque frequented by police. A Twitter account affiliated with a Pakistani offshoot of the Taliban, known as the TTP, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Peshawar is the capital of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that borders Afghanistan. It has been the scene of frequent militant attacks.
Following the blast, police in the Pakistani capital Islamabad announced they were on high alert, deploying snipers and stepping up checks of residents at entry and exit points.