Pakistan explosion: Bomb blast at Islamic seminary in Peshawar kills seven students and injures 70

Sean Morrison
·3-min read
Rescue workers and police officers examine the site of the bomb explosion in an Islamic seminary in Peshawar: AP
Rescue workers and police officers examine the site of the bomb explosion in an Islamic seminary in Peshawar: AP

At least seven children have been killed and 70 others have been hurt in a powerful bomb blast that ripped through an Islamic seminary in Pakistan, officials have said.

The bombing happened while a cleric was delivering a lecture about the teachings of Islam at the main hall of the Jamia Zubairia madrassa on the outskirts of Peshawar on Tuesday morning.

Police officer Waqar Azim said initial investigations suggested the bomb went off minutes after someone left a bag at the madrassa.

Several of the wounded were in critical condition, and hospital authorities feared the death toll could climb further.

Security officials examine the site of the blast (AFP via Getty Images)
Security officials examine the site of the blast (AFP via Getty Images)

Peshawar is the provincial capital of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan.

The province has been the scene of many militant attacks in recent years, but sectarian violence has also killed or wounded people at mosques or seminaries across Pakistan.

The latest attack comes two days after a bombing in the southwestern city of Quetta killed three people.

Authorities said some seminary teachers and employees were also wounded in the bombing.

Shortly after the attack, residents rushed to the seminary to check up on their relatives who were studying there.

Many relatives were gathering at the city's main Lady Reading Hospital, where the dead and wounded students were brought by police in ambulances and other vehicles.

From a hospital bed wounded student, Mohammad Saqib, 24, said religious scholar Rahimullah Haqqani was explaining verses from the Quran when suddenly they heard a deafening sound and then cries and saw blood-stained students crying for help.

"Someone helped me and put me in an ambulance and I was brought to hospital," he said.

Saqib had bandages on both arms but he was listed in a stable condition.

Another witness, Saeed Ullah, 24, said up to 500 students were present at the seminary's main hall at the time of explosion. He said teachers were also among those who were wounded in the bombing.

A video filmed by a student at the scene showed the Islamic scholar Haqqani delivering a lecture when the bomb exploded.

It was unclear whether the teacher was among the wounded.

Mohammad Asim, a spokesman at the Lady Reading Hospital, said seven students died and they received 70 other casualties, mostly seminary children.

The attack comes days after Pakistani intelligence alerted that militants could target public places and important building, including seminaries and mosques across Pakistan, including Peshawar.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The province has been the scene of such militant attacks in recent years, but sectarian violence has also killed or wounded people at mosques or seminaries across Pakistan.

The latest attack comes two days after a bombing in the southwestern city of Quetta killed three people.

The Pakistani Taliban have been targeting public places, schools, mosques and the military across the country since 2001, when this Islamic nation joined the US-led war on terror following the September 11 attacks in the US.

Since then, the insurgents have declared war on the government of Pakistan and have carried out numerous attacks, including a brutal assault on an army-run school in the city of Peshawar in 2014 that killed 140 children and several teachers.