10 dead, 48 injured in attack on Lahore’s Christian community
LAHORE: Ten people were killed and 48 others injured in twin blasts in two churches in the Youhanabad area of Lahore on Sunday, Express News reported.
According to initial reports, it was a suicide blast. Rescue teams and security officials have reached the site of the blast.
“Ten people have been killed and over 48 injured in the attacks,” General Hospital spokesperson says.
The deceased include a child and a police constable.
Express News screengrab of the enraged mob
Our correspondent Sarah Eleazar reports the news of a third blast was a mere rumour.
The main gate of St John’s Catholic Church was destroyed due to blast, our correspondent Rana Tanveer reports.
“Owing to the large number of people expected to attend the services, the church administration had divided the morning service into two parts,” Nadim Anthony, a member of the Christian community told The Express Tribune.
He said the first service was held from 8am to 9am, while the second service was taking place when the blast took place.
“Both the blasts were suicide attacks,” he further claims.
The death toll now stands at 6, according to AFP.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar has condemned the blast and sought a report from police.
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jammatul Ahrar has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
“We have carried out the attack,” TTP JA spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told The Express Tribune via phone.
Ehsan used his Afghan mobile number to call the media in Islamabad and Peshawar.
“We have reached Lahore, the center of Punjab province, which is a challenge and a warning to the rulers,” Ehsan said.
When asked that the group has targeted civilians at the Church, he said, “They are our real enemies.”
He said the ‘Aafia Siddiqui Brigade,’ a group of the suicide bombers, was assigned to carry out the attack.
This is the first claim from TTP JA after having merged with the TTP.
Police have resorted to aerial firing to disperse the enraged crowd as mayhem unfolds in Youhanabad.
The death toll now stands at 5, according to rescue officials.
Further, 53 people have been injured.
Four killed, 45 injured in the twin attacks , according to Express News.
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaatul Ahrar (TTP-JA) claims responsibility for attacks.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has condemned the blast.
Our correspondent Sarah Eleazar reports a third church in F Block has also been targeted.
Worshippers have gathered outside the churches after the explosions and are protesting against the government for not providing sufficient security.
Eye witness Aslam Pervez Sahotra says he is sure attack on Catholic Church was a suicide blast. “Children and women are hurt in the explosion,” he adds.
Sahotra says the blasts took place due to lack of security. He further says both the churches were crowded when they were targeted.
As per initial reports, there were 800 people present inside one church and 1,100 people in the other.
A police constable and a child have been killed in the blasts, Express News reports.
An emergency has been declared at General Hospital.
Our correspondent Rana Tanveer reports that Christ Church and Catholic Church situated at short distance in Yohbabad area were attacked.
Aslam Pervez Sahotra, an eye witness, tells The Express Tribune that the worshippers were targeted when they came out of the churches after Sunday service.
According to eyewitnesses, two suicide bombers reached the gates of two churches and tried to enter the church. When stopped, the suicide bombers blew themselves up.
Further, they added the Sunday church ceremony was underway at the time of the blasts.
Forty-five people have been injured, according to Express News.
The enraged mob is dragging the body of the deceased suspect and beating it up in reaction to the blasts.
His body has been set on fire.
Express News screengrab
Two people killed, 30 injured in twin blasts.
The deceased were suspects and beaten to death by an enraged mob near the blast site.
A suspicious person has been held by the people from near the blast site. The enraged crowd has beaten up the man severely.
The injured have been shifted to General Hospital.