A suicide bomber who killed at least 100 people inside a mosque within a high-security police compound in Pakistan on Monday simply drove in on a motorbike. "Those on duty didn't check him because he was in a police uniform," Moazzam Jah Ansari, who leads the provincial police force in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said at a Thursday news conference, which saw him dabbing at tears, per AFP. Hundreds of worshippers had gathered for prayers at the mosque inside Peshawar's Police Lines district, a self-contained encampment where police personnel live with their families, when an explosion brought down its roof.
The death toll continues to rise with at least 100 people now confirmed dead, making this "one of the deadliest attacks in the country in years," per CNN. "All but three of those killed were police officers," per Reuters. Another 217 people were injured, Ansari said. "I admit this was a security lapse," he added, noting the bomber, wearing a helmet and mask, rode into the compound on a motorbike before asking for directions to the mosque. A day earlier, Ansari said it was possible the attacker had "internal assistance" and several suspects were in custody. The bomber has been identified as a member of a militant network, Ansari said.
Police suspect Jamat-ul-Ahrar, which is a breakaway group of the Pakistani Taliban known as Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP), per Reuters. Two TTP officials initially claimed the attack was "revenge" for the August death of a founding TTP member whose vehicle struck a roadside mine, per CNN. However, TTP's main spokesperson denied the group was involved. "According to our laws and general constitution, any action in mosques, madrasas, funerals grounds, and other sacred places is an offense," he said late Monday. Jamat-ul-Ahrar has previously claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a church. (Read more Pakistan stories.)