IS attack takes toll on 9, injured 50 others

By Zeeshan Ghayur
Monday, 18 December 2017
QUETTA: Two terrorists wearing shalwar kameez, clad in suicide jackets, each holding AK-47 guns, on Sunday, tried to storm into a church, on Zarghoon road, at around 12:00 pm, when church security, the local police, intuitively shut the main gate and took positions to counter a possible terrorist attack, begun with the return fire, forcing one suicide bomber to blow himself up at the courtyard, close to prayer hall, while the other was killed and his suicide jacket later diffused.

According to detail, the Islamic State’s (IS) Amaq news agency admitted that the terrorist IS group is responsible for the suicide attack at Bethel memorial Methodist church. The diffused suicide jacket had at least 16-20 kilograms of explosives.

At least 400 worshippers were present, at the time of incident, inside the church as the first suicide bomber blew himself up, killing at least 9 innocents including three women and two minors while injured over 50 others.

The explosion shattered the glass panels, injuring innocents in the prayer hall, worshippers in panic begun running for taking cover, many fell on the shattered glass injuring themselves and breaking the wooden benches.

Soon after loud explosion, a heavy contingent of frontier corps (FC) personnel and police cordoned off the entire church and begun with civilian evacuation coupled with a thorough search operation. Army helicopters provided the surveying teams with air coordinates.

The prayer hall walls, ceiling and floors were covered in blood, FC personnel evacuated the civilians out. An emergency was declared in all major hospitals.

Chief of army staff (COAS) general Qamar Javed Bajwa, as per a tweet by major general Asif Ghafoor, said, “Quetta church attack targeting our brotherly Christian Pakistanis is an attempt to cloud Christmas celebrations / create religious cleavages” admiring “Effective response by law enforcement agencies (LEAs) is commendable” vowing “We stay united and steadfast to respond against such heinous attempts.”

National assembly (NA) speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, NA deputy speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi, in a statement, condemned the suicidal attack on church at Zarghun road and expressed heartfelt grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives.

Both Sadiq and Abbasi termed the terrorist incident as barbaric and a shameful act of terrorism.

They said that the elements involved in such activities were the enemies of humanity and the country and that their sympathies are with bereaved families and prayed for the early recovery of all injured.

Meanwhile, the Turkish foreign ministry, in a statement, said, “We learned with great sorrow that many were killed and wounded due to a terrorist attack perpetrated at a church in Quetta, capital of Balochistan province of Pakistan” condemning “We condemn this terrorist attack and convey our condolences to the friendly and brotherly government and people of Pakistan.”