Death toll from Pakistan's mosque blast rises to 50: officials
The death toll from a powerful blast in a mosque in Pakistan's northwest Peshawar city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has risen to 50 on Friday, according to hospital and police officials.
Muhammad Asim, a spokesperson for the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar where all the injured have been shifted, told Xinhua that the death toll rose after 20 injured people succumbed to their injuries, and 50 to 60 injured people are being treated at the hospital.
Ten to 15 people are in critical condition, he said, adding that a state of emergency has been declared and more medical personnel have been called to the hospital for the treatment of the injured.
Haroon Rasheed, senior superintendent of police operations of Peshawar, told Xinhua that two terrorists tried to enter the mosque and engaged in an exchange of fire with the police personnel on duty there, resulting in the death of one policeman. Another police officer was seriously injured before the huge explosion occurred.
Following a preliminary investigation, the official said it was a suicide bombing targeting civilians.
Eyewitness Mushtaq Khan told Xinhua that a large number of worshippers were present in a two-floor building of the mosque when the blast happened during prayers.
"Following the blast, there were bodies strewn all over the place and people were crying for help ... It was the most massive explosion that I have ever seen in my life," Khan said.