The death toll from a suicide bomb that ripped through a mosque in Peshawar, northwestern Pakistan, rose to at least 100 on Tuesday, marking one of the deadliest attacks in the country in years as it faces what one analyst described as “a national security crisis.”
Muhammad Asim Khan, spokesperson for Lady Reading Hospital in the city, said at least 100 people had died following Monday’s blast at the mosque in a police compound.
Police suspect that 12 kilograms (26.5 pounds) of explosives were used by a suicide bomber, Inspector General of Peshawar Police Moazim Jah Ansari said. The attack left 217 injured, Ansari added.
A police official who survived the explosion, Nasarullah Khan, said he remembered seeing “a huge burst of flames” before becoming surrounded by a plume of black dust.
Khan said his foot broke in the blast and he was stuck in the rubble for three hours.
“The ceiling fell in … the space in between the ceiling and wall is where I managed to survive,” he said.
Meanwhile, hope was fading in the search for survivors as rescue workers sifted through the rubble of the mosque that was all but destroyed Monday, when worshipers – mainly law enforcement officials – had gathered for evening prayers.
Photos and video show walls of the mosque reduced to fragments, with glass windows and paneling destroyed in the powerful blast.
“We are not expecting anyone alive to be found. Mostly dead bodies are being recovered,” Bilal Faizi, a rescue spokesperson, said Tuesday.