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Monday, May 20, 2024  
11 Dhul-Qadah 1445  

Peshawar suicide bomber wore police uniform, IG KP confirms

We're human, emotional IG tells media
KP Police chief Moazzam Jah Ansari speaks during a press conference at the Police Headquarters in Peshawar on February 2, 2023. AFP
KP Police chief Moazzam Jah Ansari speaks during a press conference at the Police Headquarters in Peshawar on February 2, 2023. AFP

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police chief Moazzam Jah Ansari said on Thursday that his police is close to catching the network responsible for the attack on a mosque in Peshawar’s police line area.

The IG also condemned the speculation about the mode of attack. He confirmed that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber and that the police is ‘close’ to catching the people behind the attack.

“I tell you with certainty that it was a suicide attack, and the attacker has been traced.” He added that the bomber was wearing a police uniform and ball bearings had been recovered from the site of the attack.

The IG also said that the attacker came on a motorcycle, whose chassis number has been tracked despite beign corroded.

“We are close to that terrorist network that became the cause for so many martyrdoms,” Ansari said.

How the attack happened

IG Moazzam Jah Ansari said that the bomber had approached the area on a motorcycle at 12:37pm and asked the guard on duty for directions towards the mosque. At this point he was wearing a jacket over the uniform as well as a helmet.

He also said that the mode of attack indicated that the attacker was aided by other people and a recce of the area had been carried out. He also admitted that the incident was a ‘security lapse’.

He added that the mosque had been built 50 years ago and was not a well designed comound. The mosque did not have any pillars and had only one door for entry or exit. So when 10-12 kgs of TNT exploded, the roof just collapsed on the people praying in the mosque.

 A CCTV image of the suicide bomber, moments before the attack. Photo via Aaj News.
A CCTV image of the suicide bomber, moments before the attack. Photo via Aaj News.

Ansari added that the debris could have been cleared in two hours, but the police took 36 hours to clear it because their were people stuck underneath. He said that the only reason people could be recovered alive was because the police was patient.

In the next phase of investigation, somewhere between 15-20,000 phones will have to be geofenced, and the process is expected to take some time.

Protests by KP police

Addressing conspiracy theories in the wake of the attack, the police chief asked the public and ranks to stop believing in speculation and let the police do its work.

“Underneath our uniforms, we are human,” an emotional IG told the media in Peshawar on Thursday. “We have children, homes, the same eating, breathing like other humans. Don’’t think we are insensitive. We are grieving.” He added that in a time of distress for the police, he needed the nation to provide a healing touch.

“We fight for you and we will fight for ourselves,” he added.

Addressing the junior ranks as his bachay, he said that members of the police were being ‘misguided’ before even the dead had been buried. He was referring to calls for protests by police personnel who had threatened to resign en masse if a proper investigation was not conducted into the attack.

He rubbished theories that the mosque had been bombed from outside. “Some people have even speculated that there was a drone attack, there is no truth in such claims.”

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