Pakistani Christians Dead After ISIS Bomber Hits Church During Christmas Service

  • Pakistani Christians Dead After ISIS Bomber Hits Church During Christmas Service

Pakistani Christians Dead After ISIS Bomber Hits Church During Christmas Service

Residents dig graves for the victims of a suicide bombing of a church in Quetta, Pakistan.

The World Council of Religions-Pakistan (WCR) has strongly condemned the brutal and coward attack by militants on Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, Balochistan, which claimed nine lives and wounded over 50 people.

Pakistani authorities said that among the eight dead, two were women. BPCA placed the number of Christians killed at 8, but a Reuters report said at least 9 had been killed, and 53 injured.

The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, claimed responsibility for the attack in Quetta, the capital of the restive Baluchistan Province, in the country's southwest. "I fear for them, I pray for them, I will no doubt weep some more for them", Wilson Chowdhry, president of the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), said in a statement after the attack.

Sunil Pervaiz, who was at the church with his sister during the assault, said that the parishioners were busy worshipping when the firing started. "It was sheer chaos", Pervaiz told Morning Star News.

"He said a week ago a warning had been issued about a possible attack against Christians but that the likely target was thought to be local Christian schools and other institutes rather than churches".

"We immediately asked the people to take shelter beneath the benches, as we were not sure about the attackers' location".

"The suicide bombers were unable to enter the main building of the church".

Following Sunday's blast, dozens of Christians protested outside the hospital in Quetta, as well as in the northwestern city of Peshawar, urging officials to protect religious minorities.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa denounced the attack, saying it was an attempt to cloud Christmas celebrations.