‘Closing in’ on terror network: Peshawar mosque bomber was in police uniform, says KP IG

Written by on February 2, 2023

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police Chief Moazzam Jah Ansari said on Thursday that the police was “closing in” on the terror network behind the suicide attack on a mosque in the Peshawar Police Lines area, revealing that the “bomber was clad in a police uniform”.

On Jan 30, a powerful explosion ripped through a mosque in Peshawar’s Red Zone area where between 300 and 400 people — mostly police officers — had gathered for prayers. The suicide blast blew away the wall of the prayer hall and an inner roof.

Talking about the status of the probe at a presser today, Ansari said that the police had found ball bearings from the blast site. “We bound ball bearings used in a suicide jacket from underneath the rubble [of the mosque] yesterday.

“This was a suicide bomber and we have traced the him […] we have obtained the CCTV footage of his movement from Khyber Road to the Police Lines […] then how he parked his motorcycle on a side […] he was in a police uniform and was wearing a mask and a helmet,” the officer revealed.

He also confirmed that severed head that the police found from the blast site was of the attacker.

Ansari said that policemen at entrance of the Police Lines did not “check the attacker because they thought he was their own”.

“At 12:37pm, he [the attacker] entered the main gate on a motorcycle, came inside, talked to a constable and asked him where the mosque was, this means that the attacker was not aware of the area […] he was given a target and there is an entire network behind him … he was not a lone ranger,” Ansari said.

He went on to say that the police have traced the attacker’s motorcycle as well.

At one point during the press conference, Ansari revealed that 10-12kg of TNT, an high explosive, were used in the blast.

“In trinitrotoluene blasts, the shockwaves have no space to go anywhere,” he said, adding that this was what reason for the high number of casualties.

“The 50-year-old mosque at the Peshawar Police Lines did not have pillars … so when the bomb exploded, the walls and roof caved in. My children [the people inside the mosque] were stuck under the rubble for hours.

“Our rescue operation lasted for over 28 hours … we couldn’t just complete it in two hours,” he added.

‘Will avenge each and every death’

At the onset of his presser, the police chief asserted that there would be a reckoning for each and every martyr.

“Both I and my police team are in immense grief right now … people believe that we wear uniforms, but we are also humans who have children and families … we are all in grief,” he said.

Ansari stated that the police had raised the voice against the attack to “take revenge for each and every martyr”, adding that the sacrifices of the policemen won’t go in vain.

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