Suicide attack on church kills 9 in Pakistan

Suicide attack on church kills 9 in Pakistan

QUETTA, Pakistan — Terrorists linked with the Islamic State (IS) group attacked a church in Pakistan on Dec. 17, 2017, killing at least nine worshippers and injuring more than 50 others.

Police and church officials told Morning Star News that four suicide attackers stormed the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in the provincial capital, Quetta, in the southwestern part of the country.

Pastor Saimon Bashir Masih said the church was holding a Sunday School Christmas program at the time of the attack. He estimated 400 worshippers were inside the church. Church security reacted quickly, shooting one suicide attacker and preventing another from detonating his explosive-packed jacket before entering the main prayer hall.

Two other terrorists fled the scene.

“The loss of lives would have been colossal had either of the two suicide bombers detonated inside the church hall,” Masih said.

Officials said the injuries resulted mainly from wooden splinters from the door and from glass blown out of the church’s windows in the explosion. IS claimed responsibility for the attack.

Pakistan ranked fourth on Christian support group Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. (MS)