ISLAMABAD: The death toll from Monday’s suicide bombing at a mosque inside a police headquarters in Pakistan’s northern city of Peshawar has risen to 83, with 21 more bodies retrieved from the rubble.

“The death toll has now risen to 83, with 57 injured still in hospital,“ Muhammad Asim, a spokesman for Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

Three injured are in serious condition, while nearly 100 have been discharged from the hospital, he added.

On Monday, a suspected suicide bomber blew himself up during midday prayers at the mosque within the Police Headquarters in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial capital of Peshawar.

According to city police chief Muhammad Ijaz Khan, the attack was a suicide bombing as police recovered the head of the bomber from the spot.

Several people were buried under the debris after most parts of the mosque building collapsed, so the rescue operation continued through the night.

The deceased included several senior police officers and the prayer leader.

Defense Minister Khawaja Asif told the local Geo TV channel that the suspected bomber was standing in the front row of the mosque and blew himself up as soon as the prayers began.

“As soon as the imam (prayer leader) began praying, there was a deafening explosion, which tossed me into the air and threw me away,“ Mohammad Mushtaq, a police officer who got injured in the blast, told reporters at the hospital.

In neighbouring Afghanistan, the Taliban administration condemned the bombing, calling it “against the teachings of Islam.”

Anadolu Agency reported that the Afghan Taliban Foreign Ministry in a statement also expressed sympathy to the families of the deceased and injured.

Meanwhile, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is observing a day of mourning across the province on Tuesday.

“In view of the two most unfortunate incidents of capsizing of a boat full of children at Tanda Dam, Kohat on 29-01-2023 and the terrorist attack at Police Lines, Peshawar on 30-01-2023, causing irreparable loss of human lives, the Provincial Government with a deep sense of grief and sorrow announces Tuesday as a day of mourning throughout the Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,“ said a notification.

“The National Flag of Pakistan shall fly at half-mast throughout the Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,“ it added.

Four militants were killed in a joint intelligence-based operation by security forces and police against terrorists in the districts of Swabi and Dera Ismail Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

According to police, the joint operation was carried out after the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), police, and intelligence agencies received information about the presence of militants in Hind village in Swabi on Monday.

The militants opened fire on security forces and police, but two of them blew themselves up and the third surrendered, they said, adding that two police officers were also injured during the operation.

Separately, two militants were killed in the Dera Ismail Khan district during an encounter with security forces in the Loni area on Monday, according to the report.

A search operation was conducted in the area based on a tip-off about the presence of terrorists, the local Dawn newspaper reported citing unnamed sources, who also said a huge amount of weapons were also recovered from the possession of the slain terrorists. -Bernama