Peshawar, Pakistan –
The suicide bomber who killed 101 people at a mosque in northwestern Pakistan this week disguised himself in a police uniform and did not raise suspicion among security guards, a provincial police chief said Thursday.
Police chief Moazzam Jah Ansari said the bombers had pushed motorcycles to arrive at the mosque in Peshawar city’s heavily guarded police and government complex.
The bomber was wearing a police uniform and security at the scene assumed he was a police officer and did not search for him, Ansari added.
Police have identified the bomber, the police chief also said, and will arrest the suspect who helped carry out Monday’s blast, one of the deadliest ever in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. By the way.
“We will avenge the martyrdom of every single officer,” Ansari said at a news conference on Thursday, without giving details. was arrested and promised to be punished according to law.
Pakistan’s defense and interior ministers in parliamentary speeches this week accused Pakistan’s Taliban, which maintain sanctuaries in neighboring Afghanistan, of orchestrating the bombing. The Pakistani Taliban, known by the acronym TTP, are a separate group but allied with the Afghan Taliban.
Ansari said most of the casualties were not from bomber blasts but from the collapse of the roof of the 50-year-old Peshawar Mosque, which injured 225 people. The force of the blast collapsed the roof, which was supported by the outer wall but had no pillars.
Police also released footage from a police CCTV camera of the suspected bomber in police uniform pushing a motorbike towards the police compound, giving the impression that the motorbike broke down.
Ansari said he “acknowledges and takes responsibility that it was a security mistake.” He did not offer to resign.
On Wednesday, dozens of police officers took part in an unusual move to a peace march organized by members of civil society groups in Peshawar, calling for increased police protection.
Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif and Interior Minister Rana Sanaura Khan denounced Pakistan’s Taliban and said in parliamentary speeches that the TTP was planning an attack from neighboring Afghanistan.
Pakistan is calling on the Afghan Taliban to take action against the TTP. Initially, a TTP commander claimed responsibility for the suicide attack, but hours later a spokesman for the group said it was not the policy of the TTP for him to attack mosques, and that he had been forced out of the massacre. Kept the TTP away.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s Taliban-appointed foreign minister urged Pakistani officials to look domestically for the reasons behind the violence in their country, rather than blaming Afghanistan.
Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch appeared to dismiss Taliban criticism in Afghanistan.
“We take the loss of innocent lives very seriously and expect our neighbors to do the same,” Baroch said at a news conference Thursday. I look forward to your sincere cooperation,” he said.
Pakistan, which is predominantly Sunni Muslim, has seen a surge in militant attacks since November when the Pakistani Taliban ended a ceasefire with government forces. Since taking power, violence has increased.
Late Thursday, Prime Minister Shabaz Sharif’s government contacted his predecessor and now opposition leader, Imran Khan, to invite him and other opposition politicians to a meeting next Tuesday, and We discussed how to respond to the surge in armed forces.
There was no immediate response from Khan, who was ousted in an unconference vote in parliament last April.
Associated Press writer Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this article.