World

ISIS Claims Pakistan Church Attack Ahead of Christmas

  • Two suicide bombers targeted a Christian church in Pakistan
  • Dozens of Christmas worshippers were injured and at least nine people were killed
  • The attack claimed by ISIS took place at a Methodist church in Quetta in Balochistan province

QUETTA, Pakistan – Pakistan’s restive southwestern city of Quetta in Balochistan province suffered yet another terrorist attack, this time at a Methodist church that is in the city’s high-security zone.

On Sunday, two suicide bombers targeted the Christian church packed with Christmas worshippers, killing at least nine and injuring more than 30 others.

The suicide bombing struck the Pakistan church when there were 400 people inside, attending the Sunday service and was immediately claimed by the Islamic State terrorist group.

The provincial Home Secretary Akbar Harifal said that the attack at the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church on Quetta’s Zarghoon Road, that has come just over a week before Christmas left nine people dead and several of the injured were said to be in a serious condition.

The police said that injuries to worshippers were caused mainly by wooden splinters from the door and glass splinters of the church’s windows.

The police added that they had intercepted and shot dead one attacker outside the church before he could detonate his bomb.

However, the second suicide bomber managed to reach the church’s main door, where he blew himself up.

Provincial police chief Moazzam Jah said in a statement, “There were 400 worshippers inside the church when it came under attack. Many precious lives were saved due to the quick response of police present in the area. Had the attackers not been stopped, there could have been hundreds of people killed casualties.

Police were quick to react and stop the attackers from entering into the main hall.”

According to civil defence official Aslam Tareen, each attacker was carrying 15 kilograms of explosive plus grenades.

Soon after, in a brief statement released on its Amaq news agency, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a publicly released statement, the Balochistan provincial home minister Sarfraz Bugti said around 250 people normally attend the church on Sundays, but the congregation had swelled to around 400 because it was close to Christmas.

The home minister said in a tweet, “God forbid, if the terrorists had succeeded in their plans more than 400 precious lives would have been at stake.”

According to local reports, shattered pews, shoes and broken musical instruments were littered across the blood-smeared floor of the church post the attack.

For over a decade now, police and troops have been battling Islamist and nationalist insurgencies in mineral-rich Balochistan.

In recent years, efforts to promote peace and development have reduced the violence considerably.

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