Nine killed, more than 50 injured in militants’ attack on Church

QUETTA, 17 December: At least nine people including two women were killed and more than 50 others were injured in a suicide bomb and gun attack on a church on Zarghon road here on Sunday, police and hospital sources said.

Balochistan police’s chief Moazzam Jah Ansari told media persons that four militants stormed Bethel Memorial Methodist Church as worshippers gathered there to attend a Sunday service.

“One of the suicide bombers detonated his waist inside the church, while another attacker started firing on the worshippers, before being killed by security forces,” Inspector General, Balochistan police said. Police added that two other attackers fled from the scene.

According to police estimate, there were about 400 worshipers present inside the church including men, women and children at the time of the attack.

“The suicide bombers were unable to enter the main building of the church. There would have been large scale casualties, had the attackers managed to reach the main hall,” the police chief said.

Local people said that a heavy exchange of fire was held in the neighborhood following police’s search operation in the area to arrest the two fleeing terrorists.

Soon after the incident, police and law enforcement agencies rushed to the site and started rescue operation. The injured and the dead bodies were evacuated to the Civil Hospital, where a state of emergency was already declared.

The Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS) group claimed responsibility for the attack in an online statement. It, however, did not provide any evidence for its claim.

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