PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Feb 2 (Reuters) – The suicide bomber who this week killed more than 100 people at a mosque inside a police compound in the Pakistani city of Peshawar was wearing a police uniform and entered the high motorcycle security, provincial police. the police chief said Thursday.
The suicide bomber behind Monday’s attack had been identified as a member of a militant network, Khyber Pashtunkhwa province police chief Moazzam Jah Ansari told reporters, without giving further details.
“I admit it was a security breach. My men couldn’t stop it. It’s my fault,” Ansari said.
The bombing was the deadliest in a decade to hit Peshawar, a northwestern city that has suffered decades of Islamist militant violence and is located near the restive Pashtun tribal lands bordering Afghanistan.
It came as hundreds of worshipers gathered for midday prayers at a purpose-built mosque for police and their families inside the high-security police lines.
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Ansari said CCTV footage showed the suicide bomber, wearing a helmet and mask, riding his motorbike through the main police lines checkpoint. He then parked his bike, asked directions to the mosque and walked there, Ansari added.
“The police guards at the main entrance thought he was part of the force; they didn’t check him,” Ansari said.
A day earlier, the police chief said investigators were not ruling out that the attacker may have had “inside assistance”. Several suspects were in custody, he said.
All but three of those killed were police officers, making it the worst attack on Pakistani security forces in recent history.
Police Lines is a self-contained colonial-era encampment that houses mid- and lower-ranking police officers and their families in the provincial capital. Hundreds of police officers staged demonstrations across the province to protest the attack.
The most active militant group in the region, the Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), has recently stepped up attacks on police in the North West Province as part of its campaign against the government. from Islamabad.
The TTP denied any responsibility for the attack on the mosque.
Pakistani officials say they suspect a splinter faction of the TTP called Jamat-ul-Ahrar was involved.
Jamat-ul-Ahrar has claimed responsibility for several major attacks in the region over the years, including the double suicide bombing at All Saints Church that killed dozens of worshipers in September 2013, in what remains the deadliest assault on the country’s Christian minority.
Reporting by Jibran Ahmad in Peshawar and Asif Shahzad in Islamabad; Written by Miral Fahmy; edited by
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