Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Pakistan church bombings kill 14; trigger violence

Islamabad, March 15 (IANS) Two powerful explosions rocked two churches in Pakistan’s Lahore city on Sunday killing at least 14 people and triggering violence in which protestors took to the streets and ransacked a bus terminal, media said.

Jamatul Ahrar, an offshoot of the Tehreek-e-Taliban, claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, news web sites said. Doctors in hospitals where those killed and wounded were rushed to said 14 people were dead.

At least 78 people were wounded in the explosions in Youhanabad area, home to the country’s biggest Christian population.

Hundreds were attending Sunday prayers at the Roman Catholic Church and the Christ Church when the explosions occurred.

Television footage showed dozens of stick-wielding men, mostly belonging to the Christian community, later ransacking the metro bus terminal in the city, Dawn online reported.

Enraged protestors held four injured policemen captive at a shop after the blast for allegedly watching a cricket match instead of performing their duties at the time of the bomb attack.

A local leader of the Christian community said both blasts took place at the church-entrances, according to the media report.

“Had the attackers managed to enter the churches, the casualty figure would have soared as there were hundreds of people present at the place of worship at the time of attack,” he was quoted as saying.

The community leader also accused the Punjab government of incompetence and blamed it for the attack.

Earlier, Jamatul Ahrar spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility for the attacks, the report said.

Initial reports said a man, allegedly involved in the attack, was beaten to death by an enraged mob.

Other reports suggested that two suicide bombers carried out the attacks.

In 2013, twin suicide attacks at the All Saint’s Church in Peshawar’s Kohati Gate area killed 80 people and wounded over 100 others.

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