A Pakistani walks in the main hall of a church following a suicide attack in Quetta, Pakistan, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017. Two suicide bombers attacked the church when hundreds of worshippers were attending services at the church ahead of Christmas. (AP Photo/Arshad Butt)

Suicide bombers attack church in Pakistan, killing 9

QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — Two suicide bombers struck a church in Pakistan on Sunday, killing nine people and wounding more than 50 others, authorities said, in the first attack on a church claimed by the country's Islamic State group affiliate.

Hundreds of worshippers were attending services ahead of Christmas when the bombers appeared in the city of Quetta and clashed with security forces. One assailant was killed at the church entrance. The other made it inside, said Sarfaraz Bugti, home minister for the southwestern Baluchistan province.

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 told reporters.

Quetta Police Chief Abdur Razzaq Cheema said a search was underway for two suspected accomplices who escaped.

Local television showed ambulances and security patrols racing to the scene as women and children were being led out of the church's main gate.

The Islamic State group later claimed responsibility for the attack on their Aamaq news agency, saying two "plungers" from their group had stormed the church, without providing further details.

It was the first time the Islamic State group has claimed an attack on a church in Pakistan, though Muslim extremists have claimed church attacks in the past. The deadliest example was in September 2013, when twin suicide bomb blasts killed 85 people in a Peshawar church. In March 2015, two suicide bombers attacked two churches in the eastern city of Lahore, killing 15 people.

Fifty-seven people were wounded in the latest attack, including seven who were listed in critical condition, according to Wasim Baig, a spokesman for Quetta's main hospital.

A young girl in a white dress sobbed as she recounted the attack to Geo television, saying many people around her were wounded.

Aqil Anjum, who was shot in his right arm, told The Associated Press 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 the lack of security. Pakistan's president and other senior officials condemned the attack.

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Associated Press Writer Ishtiaq Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan contributed to this report.

Comments

  1. The following collection of religious verses help explain why those things happened to the church, is courtesy of ‘Rational Conclusions’. I hope he doesn’t mind me quoting them here —

    Dictates from the Book of Horror aka the Koran:
    o “Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.” (Surah 5:51)
    o
    “Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons…he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home…” (Surah 8:12-)

    “Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God’s religion shall reign supreme.” (Surah 8:36-)
    “…make war on the leaders of unbelief…Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them…” (Surah 9:12-)

    “Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]…until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued.” (Surah 9:29-)

    “It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith [Islam] to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters [non-Muslims] may dislike it.” (Surah 9:31-)

    “If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men.” (Surah 9:37-)

    “Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home.” (Surah 9:73)

    “Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them.” (Surah 9:121-)

    “Say: ‘Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom…” (Surah 17:111)

    “‘How shall I bear a child,’ she [Mary] answered, ‘when I am a virgin…?’ ‘Such is the will of the Lord,’ he replied. ‘That is no difficult thing for Him…God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!…Those who say: ‘The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,’ preach a monstrous falsehood…” (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)

    “Fight for the cause of God with the devotion due to Him…He has given you the name of Muslims…” (Surah 22:78-)

    “Blessed are the believers…who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)…These are the heirs of Paradise…” (Surah 23:1-5-)

    “Muhammad is God’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another.” (Surah 48:29)

    “Shall the reward of goodness be anything but good?…Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents…They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets…Blessed be the name of your Lord…” (Surah 55:52-66-)

    Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”

    Quran (9:5) – “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.”

  2. American Christians: This is what persecution really looks like. We must continue to pray for the persecuted church around the world.

  3. O daughter Babylon, you devastator!
    Happy shall they be who pay you back
    what you have done to us!
    Happy shall they be who take your little ones
    and dash them against the rock! — Psalm 137:8-9

    See, one can quote bloodthirsty bits of the Bible as well.

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