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Wednesday, 01 February 2023 – The death toll of a mosque suicide bombing on Monday which targeted policemen in the city of Peshawar in Pakistan has risen to 100 people.

The attack, one of Pakistan’s bloodiest in years and has left scores more injured.

An earlier claim by the Pakistani Taliban to have carried out the bombing has been denied by the militant group, which blamed it on a splinter faction.

In the past the Pakistani Taliban have refrained from claiming some attacks on mosques, schools or markets because they say they are at war with security forces and not the Pakistani people.

On Tuesday, January 31, rescuers scrambled to retrieve worshippers buried in the rubble, pulling out nine people alive but recovering more dead bodies. No one remained trapped, local officials said.

Terrorists want to create fear by targeting those who perform the duty of defending Pakistan, said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, as he declared a national day of mourning.

Between 300 and 400 police officers had been in the area at the time as at the time of the attack, Peshawar police chief Muhammad Ijaz Khan earlier told local media.

Also, funerals have been carried out for more than 20 police officers, their coffins draped with the Pakistan flag. Most of the dead were members of the security forces.

The mosque is in one of the most heavily controlled areas of the city, which includes police headquarters and intelligence and counter-terrorism bureaus.

Sharif said ‘those behind the attack had nothing to do with Islam’.

He added: ‘The entire nation is standing united against the menace of terrorism.’

The Pakistan Taliban ended a ceasefire in November, and violence has been on the rise in the country since. The Pakistani Taliban is separate from the Afghan Taliban but shares the same hard-line Islamist ideology.

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