News / Asia

    15 Killed, 70 Hurt in Attacks at 2 Lahore Churches

    A Pakistani Christian woman mourns over a family member who was killed from a suicide bombing attack near two churches in Lahore, Pakistan, March 15, 2015.
    A Pakistani Christian woman mourns over a family member who was killed from a suicide bombing attack near two churches in Lahore, Pakistan, March 15, 2015.
    Ayaz Gul

    Authorities in Pakistan said two suicide bombings outside Christian churches in the eastern city of Lahore have killed at least 15 people and wounded more than 70 others, and a militant gang allied to the outlawed Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility.

    The bombings minutes apart targeted a Catholic and a Protestant church in a majority Christian suburb, Youhanabad, where thousands of people had gathered for Sunday services.

    Hospital officials said about 30 of those wounded in the attack are in critical condition. A senior Lahore police officer, Haider Ashraf, said two gunmen wearing suicide vests tried to shoot their way into the churches.

    “The suicide bombers tried to enter inside the buildings, but blew themselves up outside the churches because they were stopped by the concerned police people," Ashraf said.

    Officer killed

    He added that one police officer was killed and several others sustained injuries while successfully preventing the bombers from entering the prayer halls, thereby limiting the damage.

    An eyewitness spoke to reporters shortly after the attack, saying she was buying things for her two sons who were inside the church when the attack occurred.

    She said there were gunshots first, and then there was an explosion in front of the church gate.  She said she found one of her sons, but her other child is still missing.

    With nearly 1 million people, the Yuhanabad area has one of Pakistan's largest Christian communities.

    Outraged by the attacks, many Christians, who make up less than 2 percent of Pakistan's population of more than 180 million, accuse the government of doing little to protect them, took to the streets in Lahore and other Pakistani cities to protest.

    Witnesses said residents of Youhanabad lynched two men they suspected of involvement in the Sunday morning attacks.

    Television footage showed protesters ransacking government property and torching vehicles, forcing riot police to shoot into the air to disperse the crowds.

    During Sunday Mass in Italy, Pope Francis offered condolences to the dead and injured.

    "These are Christian churches. Christians are persecuted, our brothers spill their blood simply because they are Christians," the pontiff said.

    Pakistani Taliban-allied group

    A militant group allied to the Islamist Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. It vowed to continue attacks “until an Islamic system” is established in the country.

    The Pakistani Taliban has been waging an insurgency against the state and has targeted mosques, churches and other places of worship.

    The violence has claimed tens of thousands of lives during the past decade. But attacks have declined in recent months following stepped up counterinsurgency operations by Pakistani security forces against militant strongholds, particularly in northwestern parts of the country.

    Also Sunday, officials in northwestern Pakistan said shepherds had found 13 bullet-riddled bodies, which two local residents identified as men who had been detained by the military in January.

    Two intelligence officials said the bodies discovered near Mandao village in Shaktoi, South Waziristan, were Taliban fighters. A military spokesman declined to comment.

    Residents identified the bodies, which found on Saturday, as locals and said the incident raises further questions about human rights abuses by Pakistani security forces battling the Taliban insurgents. Shaktoi resident Allah Khan told Reuters by telephone that the military arrested 35 people from Mandao in January.

    Some material for this report came from Reuters.

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    Comment Sorting
    by: Jean Macias from: India
    March 16, 2015 12:24 PM
    "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also" (John 15, 17-20)

    "I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows... Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12, 4-7.32)

    by: Jahan from: LONDON
    March 16, 2015 11:28 AM
    Hi All,
    We run away from God but take 10 Seconds to pray for those christian brothers and sisters and from other religions who are suffered by the hands of Evil.

    by: AHMED from: INDIA
    March 15, 2015 11:53 PM
    This is very sad affairs. Terrorists are killing innocent peoples to establish Islamic State like Daesh in Syria and Iraq.
    Daesh is a cancer in Islamic Society created, Funded and Trained by Saudi Arabia, Qatar,Turkey and Israel. Daesh have strong base in Pakistan. Quetta organise a meeting of Daesh with the knowledge of Provincial and Federal Govt.
    If Pakistani Govt is serious to protect Chiristians in Pakistan then they much Punish these Terrorists in front of General Public. But I am sure Pakistani Govt never give punishment to these Terrorists because Pakistani Govt is getting Aids against these Terrorist to kill innocent Pakistani in the name of Islam.
    Islam never ever appreciate to kill Christians in the name of Islam. Show me any ayat from Holy Quran where God will be happy to kill Christians.
    I think Pakistani Govt is complete failure to protect Pakistan and Pakistani. That is why International teams willing to come India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to play cricket but no body is willing to come Pakistan to play cricket for LAST TWENTY YEARS.
    I request Pakistani Govt to protect Christians which is mention in Pakistani Constituion.

    by: Kingslayer from: Ohio USA
    March 15, 2015 10:56 AM
    They should just pray harder, god will save them.
    In Response

    by: annymous from: usa
    March 15, 2015 4:14 PM
    kingstayer. your comment is silly and pathetic
    In Response

    by: Christbeliever from: USA
    March 15, 2015 11:31 AM
    For how long will they suffer. Lord please have mercy on us.

    by: Anonymous
    March 15, 2015 10:01 AM
    Strongly denounce this abhorrent crime!

    by: annymous from: usa
    March 15, 2015 8:30 AM
    it seems to me that Christian minority live in Muslim country suffered a nightmare. There is no help from the Government and these Muslim countries has no intention to protect them . the action of these country is accessary for the pain and suffering of poor christen where they live in barbaric country like Pakistan
    In Response

    by: sathvik from: india
    March 16, 2015 5:22 AM
    we should not make out who killed which religion person killed,we should think as why human beings are being killed and no religion says to kill.
    In Response

    by: Truth from: U.K
    March 15, 2015 7:25 PM
    Hindus in Kashmir and Pakistan were thrown out because they are Hindus. Now it is the turn of Christians. If you take any idol or any other religious symbol into Saudi Arabia, they will be confiscated and binned straight away. Such intolerance spreads from Saudi to other countries. That is what you have been seeing in Pakistan , Iraq, Syria etc. Before Turkey eliminated entire Armenian Christians in its own soil to make it have only one Religion. But only the Christian west preaches Secularism and Multi culturalism. That is why they have invited trouble in their own soil also. Why did they take the Chamelion which sat comfortably on the fence and put into their own pocket?? What they have to be accountable to their actions.
    In Response

    by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
    March 15, 2015 6:09 PM
    Netanyahu, the prime minister of Jewish State, offered all Jews threatened by Arab terrorists to move to Israel for protection. He is very courageous man.
    But your country, the most powerful Christian state in the world, cowardly never offered protections to non-white Christian victims of terrorism. So stop blaming Pakistan for that and now start blaming Obama for failing Christians! Got it, kid!
    In Response

    by: Haris from: Texas
    March 15, 2015 12:24 PM
    Pakistan is not a barbaric country. The army is fighting terrorism and because of this these militants are doing so called 'revenge' attacks on all religious places. They are fighting a war, unfortunately civilians get affected. I've been to Pakistan, it isn't as bad as people think it is. They just have to continue to get rid of such problems.

    Every country has horrible problems which They need to tackle.
    In Response

    by: Kabir from: Lahore
    March 15, 2015 10:56 AM
    These suicide attacks are affecting the whole nation. Terrorist have no religion. They are inhumane ... they are attacking all religion. Its a conspiracy against Pakistan.

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