This morning there was terrible suicide attack at a historic Christian church in northwestern Pakistan. The attack killed at least 75 people in what is being called one of the deadliest attacks on the Christian minority in Pakistan in years.
The attack occurred as worshipers left the All Saints Church in the old quarter of the regional capital, Peshawar, after a service on Sunday morning. Up to 600 worshipers had attended the service and were leaving to receive free food being distributed on the lawn outside when two explosions ripped through the crowd.
Dozens of people were killed and more than 100 wounded, said Akhtar Ali Shah, the home secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
The death toll continued to rise as rescue workers sifted through the damaged church property, said Hamid Ullah, a rescue worker with Al Khidmat Foundation, a rescue service operated by the Jamaat-e-Islami political party. He said his team had recovered 75 bodies.
The dead included women, children and two Muslim police officers who had been posted outside the church. Witness reported scenes of mayhem as rescue workers ferried victims from the church, which witnesses said was scattered with body parts, shrapnel and bloodied clothing.
On Sunday afternoon, the bodies of 45 victims were placed in coffins and moved to the nearby Saint John’s Church, the oldest church in the city.
The coffins were placed next to one another in the church playground as dozens of grieving relatives and mourners gathered around. The mood was somber and angry.
Our hearts go out to the grieving families. Let us pray for those who were lost in this cowardly act.