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    » 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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    See also

    24/07/2015 PAKISTAN
    Lahore: ‘Youhanabad Project,’ a summer camp for children victimised by church attacks
    Promoted by Christian associations, the initiative is aimed at alleviating the psychological suffering of children. It began on 12 June and will end on 14 August with a grand finale. Activities include group theatre, music, outings, educational visits, meetings and discussions. For Michelle Chaudhry, this will give children back their confidence and hope.

    12/05/2015 PAKISTAN
    Mothers and widows remember the attacks on Youhanabad churches
    On Mother's Day, Christ Church, one of the two places of worship attacked, organised a prayer ceremony. Naz Bano, whose son died to stop one of the terrorists, and Fozia, now alone to raise a two-year-old girl, tell their story.

    20/03/2015 PAKISTAN
    Lahore attacks: Muslims demand protection for Christian churches
    Members of both communities, along with social activists, take part in a peaceful demonstration. The police has to arrest 18 people for the lynching of two Muslims. For a Muslim cleric, "Christians are not only a religious minority in this country, but are our brothers."

    16/03/2015 PAKISTAN
    Muslim leaders condemn Lahore church attacks
    At least 50 Islamic scholars slam the suicide bombings, reject "all forms of terrorism." For one of them, "Whoever is guilty must be punished." In Lahore's Youhanabad district, the situation remains tense. "Only animals kill and destroy churches, mosques," and "other places of worship," said a khatib or mosque preacher.

    16/03/2015 PAKISTAN
    Four Muslims among the victims of Lahore's anti-Christian attack
    The death toll rose to 17. Manifestations of solidarity take place across Pakistan. In Faisalabad, rights activists call for greater protection for Christian settlements, property and places of worship.



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