'Islamic State' claims deadly Pakistan church bombing
20 December, 2017, 00:41 | Author: Julio Duncan
Two suicide bombers have attacked a packed Christian church in south-western Pakistan, killing at least nine people and wounding up to 56, before one of them blew himself up and the other was killed by police.
But the second attacker detonated his explosives-filled vest outside the prayer hall just after Sunday services began, said Sarfraz Bugti, the provincial home minister. The region has been the scene of several deadly attacks in recent years, including the killing of Shiite Muslims by Sunni extremists.
"There were almost 400 people inside the church, but the attackers couldn't get inside the services", Mr Jah said.
Police managed to shoot one of the gunmen dead, while the other exploded his vest after being wounded.
The two suicide bombers charged police guards outside the church, triggering a gun battle. Injured include women and children.
The attack on the Methodist church was the first time ISIS claimed responsibility for a church assault in Pakistan.
Christians make up roughly 2% of Pakistan, which has some 198 million citizens.
On Saturday, Pakistani children lit lamps to mark the third anniversary of the Peshawar school attack in the city.
All casualties were shifted to a hospital where sources initially said they received four dead bodies and around 20 injured.
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.
Dozens of Christians gathered outside a nearby hospital to protest the lack of security.
Following the attack at Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, Pakistan, casualties were taken to hospital.
The push includes ongoing work on a mammoth Chinese infrastructure project - the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor - which will provide Beijing with a modern-day Silk Road to the Arabian Sea through Balochistan's deep-sea port of Gwadar.
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