More than 30 worshippers killed in powerful blast inside mosque in Pakistan’s Peshawar city

A powerful bomb exploded inside a Shia mosque in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar on Friday, killing more than 30 worshippers and wounding dozens more, many of them critically.

The explosion occurred as worshippers had gathered in the Kucha Risaldar mosque in Peshawar’s old city area for Friday prayers.

Peshawar police chief Muhammed Ejaz Khan said the violence started when two armed attackers opened fire on police outside the mosque.

One assailant and one policeman were killed in the gunfight, and another policeman was wounded. The remaining attacker then entered the mosque and detonated a bomb.

Ambulances rushed through congested narrow streets and took the wounded to Lady Reading Hospital.

No group had immediately claimed responsibility.

More than 60 people were injured and the death toll may rise, said hospital spokesman Mohamed Asim.

“We are in a state of emergency and the injured are being shifted to the hospital. We are investigating the nature of the blast but it seemed to be a suicide attack,” police officer Mohammad Sajjad Khan said.

At least 150 worshippers were inside the mosque at the time of the explosion, said witnesses.

Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the bombing.

In recent months, Pakistan has experienced an increase in violence. Dozens of military personnel have been killed in scores of attacks on army outposts along the border with Afghanistan.