Gun and bomb attack on Imambargah kills 20 PESHAWAR: At least 20 people were killed and 60 others injured on Friday in Peshawar in a gun and bomb attack on an Imambargah, in the latest sectarian violence to hit the country. Police said armed men broke into the Imambargah, where people were attending Friday prayers, and opened fire, following which three explosions were heard inside the building. Taliban claimed responsibility and said the attack was revenge for crackdown on militants following a December school massacre. “Either Pakistan will become your graveyard, or sharia will be implemented,” Taliban commander Khaleefa Omar Mansoor said in a video in which he was flanked by three young militants clutching AK-47 assault rifles. “This is the first in a series of revenge attacks ... Wait for the rest,” Mansoor, who had earlier claimed responsibility for the Dec. 16 school attack in which more than 150 people were killed, said in the video sent by email to reporters. The style of the mosque attack was similar to that of the school attack, when gunmen arrived in a car, set it on fire, and broke into the building using a back entrance. Hayatabad Medical Complex said at least 20 people had been killed in the latest attack. A witness, Shahid Hussain, told Reuters the worshippers had just finished prayers when five or six men wearing military uniforms broke into the mosque and started shooting. “We had no idea what was going on. One of the attackers then blew himself up and then there was huge smoke and dust all around,” he said. The security forces and bomb disposal squad cleared the mosque and defused three hand grenades and a suicide jacket, AIG Bomb Disposal Squad Shafqat Malik told reporters at the site of explosion. SSP Operation Dr Mian Saeed said that three suicide bombers came from backside of the mosque from an under construction building in Phase-V Hayatabad and tried to enter the mosque where Friday prayers were being offered. He said 20 persons were killed and 41 others injured in the blasts. He said one suicide bomber was killed by security guard while the third one was arrested in injured condition, who later expired due to critical wounds. He said a suicide jacket was later defused by the bomb disposal squad besides three hand grenades. Chief Minister Pervez Khattak announced compensation for the victim families under the Shuhada Package. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Inspector General Nasir Durrani said attackers did not enter the Imambargah through the main gate as security personnel were deployed there. He said people’s bravery foiled another suicide blast by overpowering another bomber who tried to detonate his explosive jacket in the mosque who was later killed. He said a terrorist blasted himself in mosque’s gallery while the bodies of two others were recovered from hall and lawn of the mosque. He said important clues have been found that would help in the investigation. The Muttahida Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM), Shia Ulema Council, Jaffaria Alliance and Imamia Rabita Council have announced three-day mourning to express solidarity with the victim families. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed grief over the loss of lives in the terrorist attack. The prime minister deplored the loss of innocent lives and directed authorities to ensure provision of best medical treatment to the injured. Talking to reporters, KP Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani called for return of FC personnel to KP for deployment on FATA and KP border, saying that the Imambargah is close to tribal areas which made access for the terrorists easy.

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