PESHAWAR: (Web Desk) At least eight people were killed and more than 100 injured in a bomb blast on Tuesday inside a seminary in Peshawar’s Dir Colony, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police Chief Sanaullah Abbasi and hospital officials.
Police and rescue service arrived at the crime scene and launched operations. KP Police said initial investigations revealed that the time-bomb was planted inside a bag.
There were nearly 1,000 children in the seminary at the time of the blast. Majority of the victims are children and instructors as the blast took place during classes at the religious school. According to AFP, teachers and boys as young as 7 were among the wounded.
The injured were moved to Lady Reading Hospital where at least five are in critically wounded. LRH officials confirmed receiving at least seven bodies and over 70 injured. Another 36 were shifted to Naseerullah Babar Memorial Hospital.
KP Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra also confirmed the death toll.
No group has claimed responsibility of the attack.
“Most of those killed and injured were hit by the ball bearings and some were badly burnt,” hospital official Muhammad Asim Khan told AFP. All of the dead were men aged between 20 and 40, he said.
KP Minister Shaukat Yousufzai said Chief Minister Mahmood Khan had summoned a meeting to discuss the security situation. He revealed that Quetta and Peshawar were on threat alert following which security had been heightened.
Yousufzai said the seminary staff and children were soft targets. “Terrorists always aim for soft targets. This area has been peaceful for a long time,” he said.
Special Advisor to KP CM on Information Kamran Bangash regretted the incident and said the injured will be provided all medical facilities. “This is the second biggest terrorist attack after the APS tragedy.”
Bangash noted that there was no security officials posted at the seminary. “The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) had issued a threat alert for religious schools,” he recalled.
Prime Minister Imran Khan strongly condemned the incident and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured. “I want to assure my nation we will ensure the terrorists responsible for this cowardly barbaric attack are brought to justice asap.”
Federal Information Minister Shibli Faraz also condemned the attack and promised to “bury those with nefarious intentions to destablise the country”.
“My heart is heavy thinking of the innocent children and their parents,” said former premier Nawaz Sharif.
Former president Asif Ali Zardari also condemned the attack.
Terming it a “heartbreaking incident”, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice-president Maryam Nawaz condoled with the victims and their families.
“Thoughts and prayers are with bereaved families and those who injured,” wrote Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ali Alizada.
“Once again children are targeted,” wrote Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry. “In this war, soldiers, politicians scholars, lawyers, doctors and people from all walks of life have sacrificed their blood.” Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar also condemned the incident.