PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistani police investigators said Saturday that they had identified the suicide bomber and the network behind the deadly blast Friday at a Shiite mosque in Peshawar, in northwestern Pakistan, that left at least 63 dead and nearly 200 wounded.
Thirty-seven people remained hospitalized, with five in critical condition, according to Muhammad Asim Khan, the spokesperson for Peshawar’s largest hospital, Lady Reading.
The Islamic State group’s regional affiliate, Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K, claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was carried out by an Afghan suicide bomber, whom the militant group identified as Julaibeed al-Kabuli.
Pakistani security officials said the name was an alias and that they had identified the attacker and his family. Muhammad Ali Saif, a special assistant to the provincial chief minister, said at a news conference Saturday that “the rest of the network will be exposed in the next 48 hours.” He declined to share more details, citing operational sensitivities.
Other security officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case and continuing investigations, said the bomber was an Afghan national who had migrated to Pakistan decades ago and lived in the country along with his family. The officials said the bomber’s parents had informed the police of their son’s disappearance and suspected he had joined the IS group.
Investigators said the bomber trained in Afghanistan and appeared to have returned recently.
A senior Pakistani police official said the police had made significant progress in their investigation, combing through hours of closed-circuit TV footage and forensic evidence to identify the attacker’s network.
The bombing on Friday adds a new challenge for law enforcement agencies confronting a resurgent Taliban in Pakistan. Baluch separatists in the country’s southwest have also carried out attacks in recent months.
Security officials said ISIS-K continues to operate from neighboring Afghanistan, but after being targeted by the Afghan Taliban, it has dispersed across the country, no longer operates in large groups and holds no physical territory.
In Peshawar Saturday, funeral prayers were held for several of the dead. Many families planned to bury their loved ones in Peshawar; others planned to bury them in their native Kurram tribal district on the border with Afghanistan.