Peshawar: A powerful bomb blast ripped through a seminary in northwest Pakistan's Peshawar city just after the morning prayers on Tuesday, killing at least seven children and wounding over 70 others, senior police officials said.
The blast occurred at the seminary in Dir Colony in interior Peshawar city. A bag filled with explosive materials was kept close to wall of the seminary by some unknown person which went off, killing 7 children and injuring over 70 others, superintendent of police in Peshawar city Waqar Azeem said.
He said the bag is believed to have had an IED device that went off when the children started filling in the seminary.
An official from the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) said 4 to 5 kilogramme explosives were used in the blast.
Most of the children who died and were injured in the bast were aged between 7-11 years, the official said, adding that many of them were from Afghanistan. The hospital authorities confirmed that they received seven dead bodies.
Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured. "Deeply saddened by terrorist attack on madrassah in Peshawar. My condolences go to the victims families & prayers for early recovery of the injured. I want to assure my nation we will ensure the terrorists responsible for this cowardly barbaric attack are brought to justice asap," he said in a tweet.
There was a general threat alert in the Peshawar district, said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police chief Sanaullah Abbasi, who also confirmed the death toll.
According to police, around 40-50 children were present inside the seminary when the bomb went off. The seminary's administration said around 1,100 students study at the institution.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mehmud Khan condemned the attack on children. The chief minister has convened a meeting to take stock of the security situation in the province. Chief Minister's Advisor on Information Kamran Bangash said that the blast would be fully probed and the perpetrators will be brought to book. "Those who spread terror will never succeed in their mission," he added. He said at least 72 children had been injured in the bast.
The area has been cordoned off and police teams are collecting evidence. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Only last month, five people were killed and two others injured in a blast in the Akbarpura area of Nowshera, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.