PESHAWAR: At least 18 people were injured when unidentified attackers lobbed a hand grenade at a mosque in the limits of Tehkal police station late on Sunday.

Local people and police officials told Dawn that the incident took place around midnight, when 25 persons were busy in having dinner in the main hall of Baitul Mukaram mosque after attending a sermon in Tehkal Bala area.

They said that unidentified attackers threw a hand grenade inside the mosque and also fired shots in the air.

Mumtaz Ali, a local resident whose elder brother sustained injuries in the attack, told Dawn that the incident took place at around 11:30pm. He said that they rushed to the mosque after hearing a loud bang and saw that injured were lying on the floor.

Mr Ali said that they shifted the injured to the hospital. He said that they also heard shots following the blast. However, he said that they did not see any attacker.

SP Abbas Majeed Marwat told Dawn that it was not an extortion related incident. He said that the mosque belonged to Ahle Hadith sect and their religious gathering was targeted with a hand grenade.

The official said that apparently there were at least seven to eight attackers, riding three to four motorbikes. The assailants managed to escape after the attack, he added.

Mr Marwat said that the attackers also fired shots after lobbing the grenade at the mosque as police recovered spent casing of 30 bore and 9mm from the scene. He said that one of the attackers was taken into custody in injured condition. He said that the attacker was probably injured mistakenly by his accomplices.

The injured were taken to Khyber Teaching Hospital and Hayatabad Medical Complex.

Sources said that the attacker, who sustained head injury, was first shifted to Hayatabad Medical Complex and later taken to CMH.

Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2016

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