At approximately 1330 local time (0830 UTC) on 30 January 2023, a suicide bomber detonated an improvised explosive device at a mosque near a police housing unit in the northwestern city of Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, while worshippers gathered for afternoon prayers. The blast partially collapsed the main hall of the mosque building, trapping dozens of individuals in the blast debris. At least 44 individuals — mostly police officers — were killed in the explosion, and more than 150 others were injured. Several nearby buildings were also damaged in the blast and a state of emergency has been declared at all hospitals in Peshawar. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (Pakistani Taliban) militant group claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Analyst Comment: The death toll is likely to rise as rescue operations continue; authorities estimate that at least 260 people were in the mosque at the time of the explosion. The blast occurred in a fortified area of the city — where police officers are housed and government buildings, including the governor’s house and chief minister’s residence, are located. Additionally, authorities have placed the capital Islamabad, located approximately 185 km (115 mi) east-southeast of Peshawar, on high alert; travelers entering Islamabad must currently show identification to enter the city.