Suicide bombers attack congregation at Pakistani church

Suicide bombers attacked a Christian church in Quetta, Pakistan on Sunday.

The Bethel Memorial Methodist Church, which was targeted in the attack, was on high alert as Christian places of worship are often targeted by Islamist extremists over the Christmas season.

Over 400 people were attending a service at the time of the attack.

Nine people died and over 57 others were injured, according to reports. Children were among the victims.

Police say the death toll could have been much higher if the two gunmen responsible for the attack had forced their way into the sanctuary.

A spokesman said the Police exchanged fire with the attackers and shot one dead outside the church.

The other blew himself up inside the church.

Both attackers were carrying weapons.

Reuters news agency says Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Christians are a minority in Pakistan. Of the country’s 200-million people, only 2 million are Christian.

They have been targeted in several attacks by Islamic radicals in recent years.

Eighty-five people were killed in twin suicide bombings in a church in Peshawar in 2013 and suicide attacks on two churches in the city of Lahore in 2015 left 15 people dead.

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