SLUG: 2-287653 CQ Pak / Attack (L)
TITLE=CQ PAK / ATTACK (L)
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INTRO: At least five people have been killed and 45 wounded in an attack on
a church in the Pakistani capital. Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
TEXT: Witnesses say the attackers walked into the church and threw grenades
during a morning service. The Protestant church was filled with about 70
worshipers, including Americans. It is located in a heavily guarded
diplomatic compound very close to the U-S embassy.
Nasir Durrani is the chief of Islamabad police. He says it is not clear
what happened to the attackers. Mr. Durrani says police are working on
whether they are among the injured or dead.
/// DURRANI ACT ///
It is certainly a terrorist act and only to embarrass our country and
relations with other countries.
/// END ACT //
Two U-S citizens are among those killed in the attack. The Pakistani Health Minister told reporters they are a woman and her daughter. The minister says the husband is being treated for leg injuries.
One injured person describes the incident.
/// WITNESS ACT ///
A man in the middle of the sermon, he ran in and threw two or three
grenades and everyone was just caught by surprise of course. Nobody
understood what is he doing. What is he shouting at? But it was so fast.
/// END ACT ///
A U-S citizen, Cindy Irwin, who works for an independent missionary
group (the Evangelical Alliance Mission), says she heard the blast while
she was at the nearby U-S embassy. Ms. Irwin says she raced to the church
because some of her colleagues were inside.
/// IRWIN ACT ///
We heard this explosion and then we heard that there were some injuries and
possible deaths. I guess it should not be a surprise because this is full
of American people and for everything that is happening in Afghanistan for
revenge. We have heard of threats and perhaps this is one of those.
/// END ACT ///
Police have made no arrests, and no group has claimed responsibility
for the attack. Security forces have cordoned off the area around the
church, but blood stains, broken glass, and splintered wood could be seen on
the front steps.
It is not immediately clear why the church was targeted. Pakistan has
suffered a surge in religious violence in recent weeks between militants
from majority Sunni and minority Shiite sects of Islam.
But attacks on Christians are relatively rare in the country. In October last year,
unknown gunmen entered a church in a central Pakistani town
(Bahawalpur) and killed 16 worshipers. (SIGNED)
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