The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) police said on Thursday the suicide bomber, who blew himself up at mosque in the Peshawar’s Police Lines on Monday wore a police constable’s uniform and a helmet and mask and reached the blast site riding a motorcycle.
Moazzam Jah Ansari, the inspector general of the K-P police, told a press conference that the bomber had been identified as a member of a militant network, adding that the terrorist was not alone in the attack, rather a whole network was supporting him.
The development in the investigation came on the fourth day of the Police Line blast. Ansari said that the attacker had been identified with the help of the CCTV footage. The bomber was captured on CCTV, while coming from the Khyber Road, he added.
“In 9 minutes, the bomber reached the Police Lines from Khyber Road. His motorcycle’s engine and chassis numbers were fake,” Ansari told reporters. “He had entered the police line as a police constable, wearing a helmet and mask on a motorcycle in the police uniform,” the IGP added.
The suspect was shown in CCTV images arriving at the gates on a motorcycle before walking through a security checkpoint and asking officers where the mosque was located. “Those on duty didn’t check him because he was in a police uniform… It was a security lapse,” Ansari said.
“The police guards at the main entrance thought he was a member of the force; they didn’t check him,” the K-P police chief told reporters. “I admit this was a security lapse. My men could not stop it. This is my fault,” he added. “No identity of the assailant was found at the site.”
Ansari said that there was “a complete network” behind the bomber. “He is not a lone ranger… We are zeroing in on the terrorist network behind the deadly attack. Information has been received about the group to which the attacker belonged. The culprits will be arrested soon,” he added.
At least 103 people, mostly policemen, attending afternoon prayers inside were martyred and 220 injured in the mosque attack in the red zone. The blast was so powerful that a wall collapsed and came down crashing on the worshippers.
Ansari said that Bomb Disposal Unit (BDU) had clarified that 12 kilogrammes of explosives were used. The explosives were TNT [trinitrotoluene], which is used in the demolition of buildings, he added, stressing that there was no evidence to any IED planted in the mosque. “It was a suicide attack,” he said.
“It was a 50-year old mosque, there was no pillar in the hall of the mosque. All the pressure from the explosion came on the wall and because of the wall collapse, the roof also came down, which buried the worshippers,” he continued.
“The explosion did not do as much damage as the roof collapse,” he continued. He stated that five to 10 people were martyred due to the explosion but the majority of deaths were caused by the collapse of the 2,500 square feet roof.
No drone attack
Promising that that every single martyr would be avenged, the IGP said that the terrorists disturbed the peace of the provincial capital. “A new storm was created even before the province was finished with the burials of the martyrs”.
Ansari urged people not to spread rumours regarding the blast as they only exacerbated the pain of those deceased. He clarified that speculations of a drone attack were false and that there was no “crater” at the scene of the blast.
“Don’t listen to rumours, There was no drone attack in the Police Lines,” the police chief urged the people. “Police officers are being provoked to protest, which is not acceptable in any case. In these difficult circumstances, the police forcing the youths to protest are adding to our sufferings.”
Flanked by Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Ijaz Khan, the IGP said that the morale of the police force was sky-high despite the mosque’s bombing and they were all ready to give more sacrifices for the protection of the motherland against any threat.