Pakistani security forces are on heightened alert after two suicide bombers attacked on December 17, 2017 a church in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, reports Premier.

Officials said the bomb and gun attack in the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church killed nine people, and wounded about 60 others. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the terrorism. This is the first time the extremist group has claimed an attack in the South Asian nation.

“People were fleeing to the corners [of the church]. I couldn’t understand what was happening; it happened so suddenly,” a witness said as she recounted the attack.

According to Al Jazeera, hundreds of Pakistanis were attending the Sunday midday service when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives vest at the gate church. The other assailant carrying a rifle fired upon the worshippers.

After an exchange of gunfire, security officers killed the militants on the scene.

“People were fleeing to the corners [of the church]. I couldn’t understand what was happening; it happened so suddenly,” a witness said as she recounted the attack.

Despite several terror attacks in Pakistan, Islamabad denied the existence of the radical group, reports Premier. The recent church violence, however, may force the government to face the fact that IS has been wreaking havoc in the country.

Prime Minister Shahif Khaqan Abbasi and army chief General Qamer Javed Bajwa condemned the suicide attack at the church.

Pakistan churches have been targeted by various terror groups.

In September 2013, twin suicide bomb attacks killed 85 worshipers in a church in Peshawar (about 129 miles from Islamabad). Militant group Jundullah, or Army of God, perpetrated the attack. The Pakistani Taliban, meantime, did a similar attack in two churches in Lahore in March 2015, killing 15 people.

Sources:
Premier
Al Jazeera

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Joyce has more than 15 years experience writing news, industry articles and blogs for the private and public sectors. Most of her career was spent writing technical documentation for a software company in the Philippines. She earned a B.A. in Communication Arts with a concentration in writing from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños. During her leisure time, Joyce pursues her interest reading fiction and playing with her dogs. She can be contacted at Joyce@onechristianvoice.com.