Suicide Bombers Kill Nine at Pakistani Church
Two suicide bombers have attacked a church in the Pakistani city of Quetta, killing nine people and wounding more than 50, the Guardian reports.
Sarfraz Bugti, the home minister for the south-western Baluchistan province, said hundreds of worshippers were attending services at the church before Christmas. He said the attackers clashed with security forces, with one assailant killed at the entrance while the other made it inside.
The Baluchistan police chief, Moazzam Ansari, praised the response of security forces guarding the church, saying the attacker who made it inside was wounded and unable to reach the main building. “Otherwise the loss of lives could have been much higher,” he said.
The Quetta police chief, Abdur Razzaq Cheema, said a search was under way for two suspected accomplices who escaped.
Local television showed ambulances and security patrols racing to the scene while women and children were led out of the church’s main gate.
Islamic State claimed responsibility through its Amaq news agency, saying two “plungers” from the group had stormed the church, without providing further details.
Wasim Baig, a spokesman for Quetta’s main hospital, said three women were among the dead while four women and two children were among 57 wounded.
Aqil Anjum, who was shot in his right arm, said he heard a blast in the middle of the service, followed by heavy gunfire. “It was chaos. Bullets were hitting people inside the closed hall,” he said.
Dozens of Christians gathered outside a nearby hospital to protest at the lack of security.
Pakistan’s president and other senior officials condemned the attack.