At least 27 people have been killed in an explosion at a mosque in Pakistan

A powerful blast ripped through a mosque attended by police officers in a highly secured part of the northwest city of Peshawar on Monday, killing at least 27 and injuring at least 120, officials said, in the worst attack in the country in months.

There was no immediate admission of responsibility, but the blast broke a relative period of calm in Peshawar, the provincial capital of troubled Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province.

The blast ripped through lines of worshipers at the mosque in Police Lines, a high-security area of ​​the city that’s home to several key government and military buildings.

The roof of the mosque collapsed after the blast, leaving several people stranded under the rubble. The injured were taken to a nearby hospital.

The region has been the scene of several attacks on police and military targets in recent months, particularly in regions bordering Afghanistan, for which the Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility.

A bomb attack on a Shiite mosque in Peshawar in March 2022 killed more than 50 people and wounded more than 100. Islamic State’s regional affiliate, Islamic State of Khorasan, or ISIS-K, claimed responsibility.

“A large part of the KP province is in a state of war,” Khawaja Muhammad Asif, the country’s defense minister, told GEO TV, a local television news channel.

Mr Asif said the security situation in the province had deteriorated significantly after the Taliban took over neighboring Afghanistan in 2021.

A peace deal between the Pakistani Taliban and the government collapsed last year, and the resurgence of Pakistan’s Taliban has strained relations between the countries.

In Islamabad, the capital, security has been put on high alert by installing snipers at key government buildings and tightening checkpoints on the roads leading into the city.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif strongly condemned the explosion. “Terrorists want to create fear by targeting those performing the duty of defending Pakistan,” Sharif said in a statement. At least 27 people have been killed in an explosion at a mosque in Pakistan

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