Police in north-western Pakistan on Wednesday arrested at least 55 suspects in a swoop after a bombing at an Islamic school that killed eight students.
Police official Mohlat Shah said the arrests were made from the vicinity of the seminary in the city of Peshawar and that the suspects were being questioned.
On Tuesday, a powerful bomb ripped through the main study hall of the school, where hundreds of students were attending early morning Koran lessons after a man left an explosive-filled bag there.
Shah said police were examining footage from surveillance cameras and interrogating eyewitnesses to identify and arrest the man.
Mohamed Asim Khan, spokesman of the city’s largest Lady Reading Hospital said all except six of nearly 140 students who were injured have been discharged from hospitals.
Police and intelligence agencies believed chief cleric at the seminary, Sheikh Rahimuddin Haqqani, might be the target.
Haqqani, a 42-year-old cleric from the Afghan city of Jalalabad, who has previously survived two attempts on his life, is said to be close to the Afghan Taliban and being targeted by the rival Islamic State extremist group.
Police have collected all the forensic evidence from the bombing site and are investigating to find out if there is an Islamic State footprint, sources said.
Pakistan officially denies the presence of the Afghan Taliban in the country, but the group’s leaders have been killed in gun attacks in the cities of Quetta and Peshawar.
Around three million Afghan refugees live in Pakistan, some for decades after fleeing the invasion of their country by Soviet Russian forces back in 1979.