At least eight people were killed and 16 injured in a suicide attack on a church in Pakistan’s Balochistan province.
At least two suicide attackers struck the Bethel Memorial Church on Zarghoon Road in provincial capital Quetta while Sunday service was ongoing, Dawn online reported.
There were 400 worshipers inside the church when it came under attack, Balochistan’s Inspector General of Police (IG) Moazzam Ansari and Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said.
Police assigned to the church’s security reacted in a timely manner and averted a much larger tragedy, IG Ansari claimed. Eyewitnesses and provincial lawmaker Aniqa Irfan, who had reached the church soon after the attack, corroborated the claim.
An eyewitness who was present inside the church at the time of the attack said the attackers had scuffled with the building’s guard when their attempt to enter the main hall undetected failed.
When they shot the guard dead, police officials posted around the church noticed something was amiss and opened fire on the attackers.
One of the attackers was reported to have then detonated his suicide vest at the church’s main door after receiving bullet injuries. Another was shot dead near the church’s entrance by security forces, the police chief said.
The injuries caused to worshipers were mainly the result of wooden splinters from the door and glass blown out of the church’s windows, IG Ansari maintained.