At least five killed as another blast hits Pakistan on prophet’s birthday

At least five killed in explosion at mosque in Hangu city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province shortly after the Balochistan bombing.

Pakistan Bombing
A man comforts another mourning the killing of his relative in the blast in Balochistan [Arshad Butt/AP]

Islamabad, Pakistan – At least five people have been killed and 10 other injured in a bomb blast at a mosque in Hangu city of Pakistan’s northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The explosion happened shortly after a similar incident in neighbouring Balochistan province’s Mastung district killed at least 52 people and wounded dozens of others on Friday.

Fazal Akbar, a senior police officer at Hangu, told reporters the two suspected attackers tried to enter a police station near the mosque, but they were fired upon by the officials.

“One of them blew himself up at the gate but the other managed to enter the mosque. Thankfully, most of the people inside the mosque managed to escape after the first blast, which is why the casualty count is low,” he said.

Officials said there were between 30 to 40 people inside the mosque offering the congregational Friday prayers when the explosion took place.

The twin blasts rocked Pakistan as Muslims celebrated the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad.

Interactive_Pakistan_Friday blasts_Hangu_Mastung
(Al Jazeera)

“We now have five confirmed casualties, while another six critically injured have been transferred to hospital,” Bilal Faizi, spokesperson for Rescue 1122 helpline, told Al Jazeera.

Faizi said the blast caused the roof of the mosque to collapse as the Friday prayer sermons were going on.

He said heavy machinery is being used to remove the debris of the roof. Many people are still feared trapped under the rubble, he added.

Amir Rana, director of Islamabad-based Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, said the two blasts appear to be the work of ISIL (ISIS) group.

“This is an alarming development. We have historically seen ISIL and its affiliates targeting religious movements and religious centres of worship,” he told Al Jazeera.

Meanwhile, another armed group, the Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), distanced itself from the twin explosions on Friday.

Earlier this year, more than 100 people died in a bomb blast at a mosque situated inside police quarters in in Peshawar city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Pakistan saw a dramatic surge in armed attacks this year, with more than 300 such incidents attacks reported only from the northwestern province.

Source: Al Jazeera