Twin Suicide Bombings Kill 81 in Pakistan
September 23, 2013
Suicide bombings on Sunday killed at least 81 people as they exited Pakistan's historic All Saints Church. Up to 600 believers attending the worship service were preparing to share a meal when two suicide bombers entered the church property and blew themselves up, killing 81 people and injuring 141.
Among the dead were 34 women and seven children as well as two Muslim police officers who had been stationed outside the church. The congregation had recently been instructed to exit each service in a series of groups in case of attacks.
Hospital workers quickly ran out of beds and caskets for the victims as they faced the aftermath of one of the deadliest attacks on Pakistan's Christian community.
A splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they "will continue to strike wherever we will find an opportunity against non-Muslims" until their political demands are met.
"We had very good relations with the Muslims—there was no tension before that blast," Danish Yunas, a victim, told Al Jazeera News, "but now we fear that this is the beginning of a wave of violence against Christians."
An Outraged Nation United
Although Pakistani Christians, who are 3 percent of the population, face regular persecution, bombings are unusual. Across the nation, Muslims expressed sympathy and outrage at the attack on peaceful worshippers, including many government officials and Muslim organizations.
"Such cruel acts of terrorism reflect the brutality and inhumane mindset of the terrorists," said Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a statement condemning the attacks.
Pakistan Ulema Council Chairman Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi spoke on behalf of the Muslim organization saying, "We are with our Christian brothers and sisters in this time of grief and sorrow."
Muslim and Christian leaders around the world have called for a time of prayer for the victims of the bombing.
"Our hearts go out to the victims' families and the rest of the church in Pakistan," said Gospel for Asia Founder and International Director K.P. Yohannan, whose ministry provided relief during Pakistan's 2010 floods. "As the Bible says, when one of us suffers, we all suffer."
Gospel for Asia Compassion Services teams provided relief during Pakistan's 2010 floods.
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