Quetta church attack leaves 9 dead, dozens injured
QUETTA (92 News) – A suicide attack on a church located in the provincial capital’s Zarghoon Road area has killed at least nine people and wounded at least 30 others including women and children on Sunday.
A second attacker fired upon worshippers during a midday service on Sunday, prompting a police operation in the area.
Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said that four suicide attackers were involved in the assault on the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta. Initial reports suggested an explosion took place, which was followed by a sustained gunfight.
Bugti said that two suicide bombers had been stopped near the entrance of the church after which one of the bombers detonated his suicide vest at the gate of the church premises, where about hundreds of men, women, and children had gathered for Sunday services ahead of Christmas.
Another attacker was shot dead by security forces, he said. Had the men not been stopped there could have been hundreds of casualties, he said in a tweet.
Police and security forces officials rushed to the spot and cordoned off the area after the incident.
Rescue staff reached the spot and the injured were rushed to the main hospitals of the city, while an emergency was imposed in all hospitals across Quetta.
Security forces are conducting a search operation and have surrounded the site of the attack, in the city’s high-security zone.
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Quetta on Sunday. In a statement condemning the attack, he said the attack on church is tragic and cowardly.
He said that anti-state elements want to spread violence in the country but we will continue war against terrorism till the complete eradication of such elements from the country.
The minister said that Islam teaches us respect of minorities and their places of worship and the protection of religious freedom of minorities is duty of the whole nation.
National Assembly Speaker and Deputy Speaker have also condemned the attack in Quetta. They expressed deep grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives in the attack.
They said terrorists have no religion, they are enemies of humanity. They said all religions condemn such act by terrorists of targeting places of worship for their nefarious designs.
Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai and Chief Minister Sardar Sanaullah Zehri have also strongly condemned the bomb explosion. They have directed health authorities to provide best medical treatment to the wounded persons.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal has condemned the terrorist attack. In a tweet message, he said Pakistan’s resolve against terrorism cannot be deterred by these cowardly acts of terrorists.
Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, has been at the centre of recent violence in Pakistan, and often comes under attack from the terrorists.
Last month, a suicide attack targeting paramilitary soldiers killed at least four people and wounded 15 others. Earlier that month, a senior police official was also killed in a similar attack, while in October at least seven police officials were killed in another roadside bombing.
No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.