At least nine people were killed and more than 50 others injured after ISIS extremists attacked a church in southwestern Pakistan during a Sunday service.
The attack was on Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, where one ISIS radical detonated a bomb that was strapped to him. A second ISIS fighter was killed while he opened fire on the worshippers. Two other ISIS radicals escaped and police are searching for the suspects.
Baluchistan Police Chief Moazzam Ansari said security personnel and officers prevented a much more deadlier attack.
Some 400 people were attending the service.
“Arguably, the quick response of the security forces at the church reduced the impact of this attack, but that has done nothing to ease the anxiety that Christians are feeling," Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the London-based charity British Pakistani Christian Association, said in a statement. "Christians clearly need more protection as two attacks on churches in two months is becoming too common an incident.”
Two women were among the nine killed and 10 other women and seven children were among those injured in the attack.
“Law enforcement agencies have badly failed in protecting common citizens, and minorities in particular," Shamaun Alfred Gill, a Christian activist in Islamabad told The New York Times.
"December is a month of Christian religious rituals," Gill added. "We had demanded the government beef up security for churches all over the country. But they have failed to do so.”
Pakistan is ranked as the fourth worst nation in the world in persecution of Christians, according to Open Doors USA’s 2017 World Watch List.
"Attacking worshipers, especially over the Christmas season, is an act of cowardice," Nasir Saeed, Director of the U.K.-based Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement, said in a statement. "It is condemnable and such hate and violence cannot help anyone to make a place in Heaven."
Photo courtesy: Religion News Service
Publication date: December 18, 2017