15 Mar 2015

Bomb blasts kill 14 people at churches in Lahore

Fourteen people are killed and nearly 80 wounded after bombs explode outside two churches in Lahore, Pakistan. A Taliban splinter group has claimed responsibility.

Police said the bombs – which went off minutes apart – appeared to have been targeted at two churches, one Catholic and one Protestant, that sit close to each other in a majority Christian suburb of the city.

A Pakistani Taliban splinter group claimed responsibility for the bomb blasts outside two churches in Lahore, Pakistan which killed 14 people and injured 78 more.

Enraged residents lynched two suspects immediately after the blasts, police said.

Witnesses said quick action by a security guard prevented many more deaths at the scene.

One witness, Amir Masih, said he saw a security guard “scuffle with a man who was trying to enter the church – after failing, he blew himself up”.

“I saw his body parts flying through the air,” he added.

Taliban faction Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the bombs, and a spokesman said the death toll may yet increase.

Militants in Pakistan have attacked Christians and other religious minorities several times over the last decade.

Many blame the government for doing little to protect them, and Pakistan’s police are notoriously poorly trained and under funded.

Lahore is the capital of Punjab, Pakistan’s wealthiest and most populous province and the political heartland of prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Violence has been increasing after the government’s failed attempts to hold peace talks with the Taliban last year, although the city is generally considered peaceful compared with many other areas of Pakistan.