Suicide attack on Pakistan church kills eight

At least 8 people killed and up to 45 wounded after two men attacked a Catholic church in Pakistan.

QUETTA (Pakistan) • At least eight people were killed and 30 wounded when two suicide bombers attacked a church in Pakistan during a service yesterday, just about a week before Christmas, police said.

Two women were among the dead at a Methodist church in the restive south-western city of Quetta in Balochistan province, said Provincial Home Secretary Akbar Harifal.

Several of the wounded were in serious condition, the police said.

Security forces intercepted and stopped the attackers from entering the church's main hall. They shot one bomber outside but the second attacker managed to reach the main door, where he blew himself up.

Balochistan Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti said about 250 people normally attend the church on Sundays, but the congregation had swelled to about 400 as it was close to Christmas.

An AFP reporter at the scene saw shattered pews, shoes and broken musical instruments littered across the blood-smeared church floor. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Christians make up an estimated 1.6 per cent of Pakistan's 200 million people and have long faced discrimination.

Mineral-rich Balochistan, bordering Iran and Afghanistan, is the largest of the country's four provinces but its seven million people have long argued they do not get a fair share of its gas and mineral wealth.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2017, with the headline 'Suicide attack on Pakistan church kills eight'. Print Edition | Subscribe