At least 10 people were killed and 48 others wounded when two suicide bombers blew themselves up at the entrance of churches in Pakistan’s east city of Lahore on Sunday, hospital sources said.
An official of the Medical Superintendent General Hospital, where the wounded were being treated, said they received 48 injured people, while 10 bodies were in the mortuary.
The death toll could rise as several among the injured were in critical condition, he said.
Deputy Inspector General Police, Haider Ashraf, told reporters that two suicide bombers blew themselves up at the main gate of Roman Catholic Church and Christ Church, located within a distance of one kilometer in Youhanabad area of Lahore, the capital city of the eastern Punjab province.
The attackers wanted to enter the churches but detonated their explosive vests after being stopped by the policemen at the gate, killing 10 people, including a policeman and a child.
Witnesses said unidentified gunmen opened fire at the churches and fled the scene before the explosions.
Police arrested a suspect who was allegedly giving instructions to the suicide bombers.
Enraged Christians, who were praying inside a church, also beat to death an unknown person who was believed to be the accomplice of a suicide bomber, and burnt his body.
Around 500 people were attending the Sunday prayer inside the churches when the attacks happened.
Jammatul Ahrar, a splinter group of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying Christians were their enemies.
The group’s spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan also threatened to launch more attacks.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack and asked authorities to beef up the security of churches, mosques and other worship places across the country.
The Pakistan Christian Community announced a three-day mourning for the victims. Enditem