Quetta church attack

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At least nine members of the Christian community were killed and 57 others wounded when two suicide bombers struck a church in Quetta where worshippers were attending service ahead of Christmas. Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti said one of the suicide bombers was shot dead outside Bethel Memorial Methodist Church located on the main Zarghoon Road, but the other assailant made it to the church’s entrance hall as Sunday services opened. According to report, the dead included four women while a one-and-a-half-year old baby girl was among the wounded. Most of the casualties took place in the front portion of the main service hall. Balochistan IG Moazzam Jah Ansari confirmed that around 400 people were present inside the church at the time of the attack. Shattered pews, shoes and broken musical instruments littered across the blood-smeared floor of the church. Sources claimed that one suicide bomber entered the church from the main entrance gate while three others barged into the church from backside. The two had managed to escape. The home minister and Deputy Inspector General Quetta Abdul Razzaq Cheema also said that the attackers were four in numbers and two of them escaped after police killed their two accomplices. Eyewitnesses claimed that they saw at least two people who were firing towards the church while escaping. Meanwhile, bomb disposal squad defused the explosives-laden jacket of the suicide bomber who was killed by the security forces. Civil Defence Director Aslam Tareen said 15kg of explosives was used in both the jackets. A senior official on the condition of anonymity, said, “The suicide bombers looked like Uzbeks.” President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri and other senior officials condemned the attack. Also, Commander Southern Command, Lt-General Asim Saleem Bajwa and IF Frontier Corps Major General Nadeem Ahmed Anjum visited the Trauma Centre along with other senior military and civil officers. They met the injured and inquired after their health and assured that all help and assistance would be provided for their treatment. Several terrorist attacks have taken place in both Quetta raising questions on the effectiveness of security policies. It was decided after APS attack that the system of intelligence cooperation would be strengthened. But after passage of three years country is still facing the same problem. A lack of coordination between security institutions and the governments is causing great physical and monetary losses as a result of such terrorist attacks. The federal and provincial governments should take serious steps to fix the problem and to avoid untoward incidents in future.

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