Policemen stand guard near the site of a suicide bomb attack in Rawalpindi January 9, 2015.Reuters

A bomb blast ripped through a Shia mosque in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on Friday night, killing eight people and injuring 15, with the toll expected to rise.

Several Shia Muslims had gathered to mark the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad when a suicide bomber attempted to enter the mosque. When he was stopped at the entrance, he detonated himself. 

"There were 100 to 150 people in the mosque at the time of attack. I can confirm death of seven people and injuries to 15 others. This number may go up," senior administration official Sajid Zafar Dall told AFP.

While no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, a Taliban hand is suspected. 

The head of the mosque, Shamim Syed, said he saw the suicide bomber before he blew himself up. 

"There were security arrangements in place outside the mosque. A suicide bomber tried to enter the mosque and he was countered by police and our scouts. He then exploded himself," Syed told the media.

The blast comes weeks after the deadly Peshawar school massacre that left 132 children dead. 

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