Blast kills 4; Christian homes torched in Pakistan
But a senior police officer Khalid Hamdani put at six the number of people killed in the remote-controlled blast that turned into rubble the Chishtia Hanafia Ganj Ali Khan mosque near the Meena bazaar.
Planted near the front row of the congregation, the device was detonated as people were getting ready to pray, eye witnesses said.
As many as 30 worshippers were injured in the blast around 1:15pm, Peshawar City Police Chief Imran Shahid told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Eyewitness Rahman, however, it was a suicide attack, insisting the attacker was in the second line behind the imam.
Doctors at a nearby hospital, Lady Reading Hospital (LRH), confirmed receiving four dead bodies and 28 injured people, some of them in critical condition.
Four to five kilograms of explosives were used in the blast, according to Bomb Disposal Unit in-charge AIG Shafqat Malik.
Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Eshanullah Ehsan distanced the movement from the attack, saying they opposed targeting public places and gatherings.
The walls of the mosque, fans and other electronic equipment were badly shattered by the powerful explosion.
Elsewhere, an enraged mob attacked and torched dozens of houses in a Christian-dominated neighbourhood of Lahore, the capital of southern Punjab province, on Saturday, the Pakistani media said.
The attack in Joseph Colony came following allegations of blasphemy against a Christian man, who was booked under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
DawnNews reported it appeared that the man had been falsely accused of blasphemy but the police was forced to register a case to placate the mob.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the accused man was in police custody and all those involved in the arson would be arrested.
Police said the incident started Friday when a young Muslim man accused the Christian man of committing blasphemy.
A large crowd from a nearby mosque went to the Christian man’s home on Friday night and police took the man into custody to try to pacify the crowd.
Hundreds of Christian families, fearing for their safety, fled the area overnight.
The mob returned on Saturday and began ransacking Christian homes and setting them on fire.
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