At least eight students were killed and 136 wounded when a massive blast ripped through an Islamic seminary in a Pakistan city Tuesday, local authorities said.
The bombing at the school in the northwest city of Peshawar erupted as religious scholar Sheikh Rahimullah gave a lecture about the teachings of Islam, cops said.
Video shared by police captures the horrific moment the deafening explosion occurs as Rahimullah speaks in front of a camera, knocking the camera over as smoke fills the room.
Local officer Waqar Azim said that preliminary investigations suggest the bomb went off minutes after someone abandoned a bag at the madrassa, or Islamic religious school.
TV footage of the aftermath shows the main hall of the seminary ravaged by the blast with scattered broken glass and a blood-stained carpet.
At least 11 pounds of explosives were used in the attack, according to police.
Authorities said several of the wounded students were in critical condition and hospital officials feared that the death toll would rise.
Among the injured were also some seminary teachers and employees.
The madrassa is mostly for adult students and many had been studying at the time of the explosion, said city resident Abdul Rahim, who noted that his 27-year old cousin was among those injured.
Initially, police said the blast killed and wounded children studying at the school, but later revised that account to say that the students were in their mid-20s.
One wounded student Mohammad Saqib, 24, speaking from a hospital bed, said religious scholar Rahimullah was explaining verses from the Quran when the bomb exploded.
“Someone helped me and put me in an ambulance and I was brought to hospital,” said Saqib, who was listed in a stable condition.
Another witness, Saeed Ullah, 24, said that up to 500 students were inside the seminary’s main hall at the time of the blast.
Meanwhile, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack.
“I want to assure my nation we will ensure the terrorists responsible for this cowardly barbaric attack are brought to justice,” Khan vowed.
With Post wires