23 detained as Peshawar police look into inside link

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) police detained 23 people in connection with Monday’s suicide attack at a mosque inside the high-security Police Lines, as a joint investigation team made some headway in identifying the bomber, officials said on Wednesday

A joint investigation team (JIT) is investigating the bombing with focus on finding out how the bomber breached the security in Peshawar’s ‘Red Zone’ which houses the offices of eight units of the law-enforcement forces, including the police

A senior provincial police official told AFP on condition of anonymity that 23 suspects had been detained so far, adding that some of them were from Peshawar city and the nearby former Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), which has now been merged with the K-P province

“We have found some excellent clues, and based on these clues we have made some major arrests,” Peshawar Capital Coty Police Officer (CCPO) Ijaz Khan told Reuters

“We can’t rule out internal assistance but since the investigation is still in progress, I will not be able to share more details

” A suicide bomber slipped undetected into a highly sensitive compound in Peshawar and detonated explosives among a row of worshippers in the compound's mosque on Monday, causing a wall to collapse and crush officers

The death toll from the blast rose to 101 on Wednesday

Officials said that the investigators were looking into the possible inside link to the bombing

“We have detained people from the Police Lines (headquarters) to get to the bottom of how the explosive material made its way in and to see if any police officials were also involved in the attack,” the senior official said

Officials close to the investigation indicated that the bomber came to the Police Lines disguised as guest, while the explosive material was brought discreetly on different occasion

The bomber prepared the explosives for explosion inside the Police Line, they said

The investigation team had taken 350 hours of CCTV footage into custody and they were making headway in identifying the bomber

The officials said that the investigators narrow down on four suspects who entered the Police Lines at different times

“Work on entry of four suspects in the Police Line at different times continues and the investigators suspect that one of them could be the suicide bomber

Teams have been tasked to identify the bomber's face and body from the CCTV footage,” a police official said

The official said that the four suspects entered the Police Lines unarmed, which lead to suspicion that they had inside help

However, he added, the investigation team was working as to how the explosives were accessed

“The attacker and facilitators might have had links outside Pakistan

” Moazzam Jah Ansari, the inspector general of the K-P police force, told reporters on Tuesday that a suicide bomber had entered the mosque as a guest, using 10-12 kilogrammes of explosive material earlier brought to the site in bits and pieces

Other police officials have also said the mosque attack was a revenge attack against the police force, who are on the frontline in fighting against a resurgence in militancy since the Afghan Taliban came to power in neighbouring Afghanistan

However, the Taliban government in Kabul told the Pakistani ministers " not to pass the blame to others" and "they should see the problems in their own house”

Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said in a press conference: “Afghanistan should not be blamed" for the suicide bombing


Date:03-Feb-2023 Reference:View Original Link