Christian Church Attacked in Pakistan

By Faith Magbanua, December 18, 2017 23:12 PM

Pakistan(Pixabay)

A Methodist Church in Pakistan has been attacked by a suicide bomber followed by a gun fire, killing at least nine people this weekend, according to reports from officials.

Militants stormed the church, which was crammed with worshippers at the time, in the city of Quetta, some 65km (40 miles) from the Afghan border.

According to sources, the Islamic State group has claimed it carried out the attack.

The two suicide bombers were stopped at the entrance to the church, Sarfraz Bugti, the Balochistan region's home minister, said.

Had the men got any further, there could have been hundreds of casualties, he added.

In addition to that, one of the men detonated his bomb vest and the other was stopped in a gunfight with the police while two more attackers fled.  Prior to that incident, a search operation was immediately implemented to find the suspects.

The attack took place during a Sunday service at the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church and dozens of people are known to have been wounded in the attack.

According to the testimony of a witness, children attending Sunday school had taken shelter while firing continued around them.

On the other hand, violent attacks in the mainly Sunni Muslim region are not uncommon, often targeting the Hazara Shia Muslim community in suicide bombings.

Sunni Islam, is considered to be one of the largest denomination of Islam. Though Sunni Islam does not have a formal hierarchy. Leaders are informal and gain influence through study to become a scholar of Islamic law, called sharia. According to the Islamic Center of Columbia, South Carolina, anyone with the intelligence and the will can become an Islamic scholar. During Midday Mosque services on Fridays, the congregation will choose a well-educated person to lead the service, known as a Khateeb.

However, the Pakistan's Christian minority has also frequently been the subject of militant attacks and in light of the recent attacks, guards had been placed near the church in Quetta.

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