Islamabad, 27 October 2020 (dpa/MIA) – A bomb ripped through the main study hall of an Islamic school in north-western Pakistan on Tuesday, killing eight students and wounding scores more, police and medics said.
The bombing in the city of Peshawar left more than 110 students wounded, some with having sustained burn injuries, according to Anis Ahmed at the city’s Lady Reading Hospital.
Police and medics initially said all the dead and injured were children, but later it emerged most of them were in their early 20s.
Police said the bombing was well-planned, but no group has claimed responsibility so far. The Taliban, which has targeted Islamic schools and shrines in the past, said it was not responsible for the attack.
The bomb went off when students were taking early-morning Koran lessons, local police chief Mohamed Ali Khan said.
A man entered the hall at around 8 am (0300 GMT) and left an explosives-laden bag there, Khan said citing footage from the surveillance cameras.
The bomb, which was made of some 6 kilograms of explosive material and contained ball bearings, created a huge crater in the hall.
The area has been cordoned off and police were searching for the male suspect, Khan said.
The rescue operation has been completed and the dead bodies and injured people have been transported to the hospital, rescue worker Bilal Faizi said.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the bombing, saying that his government would “ensure the terrorists responsible for this cowardly, barbaric attack are brought to justice.”
A teacher at the seminary who was inside the compound at the time of bombing told Pakistani broadcaster Dunya News that the explosion had been “huge and deafening.”
“I was in another part of the building. When I ran out there was fire, smoke and destruction,” said Mohamed Adnan Haqqani.
Islamist militants linked with the Pakistani Taliban stormed a military-run school in Peshawar in 2014, killing around 150 children in one of the country’s deadliest attacks.
Militants from al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Islamic State extremist groups have killed around 70,000 people in Pakistan including politicians, security forces, activists and journalists since 2004.
A series of military offensives from mid-June 2014 pushed the militants into neighbouring Afghanistan, but they still have the capability of launching surprise attacks.