Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has condemned the bombing that targeted a Shia Muslim mosque in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar.

At least 150 worshippers were inside the Peshawar mosque at the time of the explosion, witnesses say.
At least 150 worshippers were inside the Peshawar mosque at the time of the explosion, witnesses say. (AFP)

A powerful explosion inside a Shia Muslim mosque in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar has killed at least 56 people and wounded some 194 others.

Daesh claimed on its Amaq propaganda site that its fighter carried out Friday's suicide bombing.

Peshawar Police Chief Muhammed Ejaz Khan said the violence started when two armed attackers opened fire on police outside the mosque in Peshawar’s old city.

One attacker and one policeman were killed in the gunfight, and another police official was wounded. The remaining attacker then ran inside the mosque and detonated a bomb.

Local police official Waheed Khan said the explosion occurred as worshippers had gathered in the Kucha Risaldar mosque for Friday prayers.

Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the bombing.

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'Bodies everywhere'

Ambulances rushed through congested narrow streets carrying the wounded to Lady Reading Hospital, where doctors worked feverishly. 

Muhammad Asim Khan, a spokesperson for the hospital, said 50 of those wounded were critical. 

At least 150 worshippers were inside the mosque at the time of the explosion, witnesses said.

Shayan Haider, a witness, had been preparing to enter the when the powerful explosion threw him to the street.

“I opened my eyes and there was dust and bodies everywhere,” he said.

The prayer leader, Allama Irshad Hussein Khalil, a prominent up and coming young Shia leader, was among the dead. 

In majority Sunni Muslim Pakistan, minority Shia Muslims have come under repeated attacks.

Both Daesh and a Pakistani Taliban organisation have carried out similar attacks in the region, located near the Afghanistan border.

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Source: AP