8 killed 35 injured in suicide attack on Quetta’s Bethel Memorial Methodist Church
At least eight people including women and children were killed and 35 injured in a suicide attack on the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church on Quetta’s Zarghoon Road on Sunday afternoon, Balochistan’s Inspector General (IG) Moazzam Ansari and Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti told media
According to DawnNews, all casualties were shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta. Hospital sources said they had initially received four bodies and around 20 injured, including women and children. Three of the injured passed away while undergoing treatment for their injuries.
At least two suicide attackers had struck the Bethel Memorial Church while service was ongoing. There were 400 worshipers inside the church when it came under attack, IG Ansari 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.
One of the attackers was reported to have detonated his suicide vest near the church’s main door after receiving critical injuries. Another was shot dead near the church’s entrance by security forces after an intense gunfight, the police chief said.
The church had organised different programmes all throughout December to mark Christmas, according to its Facebook page and was holding a ‘Sunday School Christmas Programme’ at the time of the attack.
Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain strongly condemned the terrorist attack and expressed grief at the loss of innocent lives. He also directed authorities to ensure best medical treatment possible for the injured.
Terrorists will be taken to their logical conclusion and their cowardly attacks will not weaken the nation’s resolve, he said.
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal condemned the attack as a sign of “cowardice” and said Pakistan’s enemies want to spread violence in the country.
“We are fighting a war against these terror elements,” he said.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah condemned the attack and expressed his solidarity with the people and government of Balochistan.
“The attack on the church was a cowardly act by terrorists,” he said.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan strongly condemned the terror attack. “The govt must ensure special protection for churches as Christmas approaches. My prayers go to the victims’ families and for the speedy recovery of the injured,” Khan tweeted.