03/15/2015, 00.00
PAKISTAN

Lahore: 14 dead and more than 70 wounded in Taliban attack against two Christian churches

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar militants carried out the twin attack against St John Catholic Church and Christ Church. Almost 2,000 people were in the two buildings at the time of the blasts. A mob lynched an attacker.

Lahore (AsiaNews/Agencies) - At least 14 people were killed and over 70 were wounded this morning in suicide attacks against two churches in Youhanabad, Lahore's Christian quarter, in Pakistan.

A spokesman for the Punjab police reported that the two churches, which are 500 metres apart, were St John's Catholic Church and Christ Church (Protestant).

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaatul Ahrar (TTP-JA) claimed responsibility for both attacks.

Initial reports indicate that, at the time of the explosions, 800 people were present in one church and 1,100 people in the other

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the blasts.

The death toll is constantly updated. Given the high number of wounded, the hospitals of Lahore called on residents to donate blood.

Christian schools in Karachi and Punjab announced that they will be closed tomorrow.

In Karachi, a demonstration got underway to protest against the attacks on the two churches.

The attackers decided to strike during Sunday services to achieve the most devastation.

According to eyewitnesses, two suicide bombers reached the gates of the two churches and tried to enter them. When they were stopped, they blew themselves up.

"We have carried out the attack," TTP JA spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told The Express Tribune. "We have reached Lahore, the centre of Punjab province, which is a challenge and a warning to the rulers," Ehsan said.

Immediately after the attacks, a crowd gathered to protest the lack of police protection. A young man, thought to have been involved in one of the attacks, was lynched and burned alive by an angry mob.

More than 100,000 Christians live in the Youhanabad area.

Lahore is the capital of Punjab, Pakistan's most populous and richest province. The city is generally considered peaceful compared with many other areas of Pakistan.

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