LAHORE: Pakistani Taliban suicide bombers exploded themselves near two churches in the eastern city of Lahore on Sunday as worshippers were gathered inside, killing 14 people, officials said, in the latest attack against religious minorities in the increasingly fractured country.
In the tense aftermath, angry mobs lashed out at people they suspected of involvement in the attacks ? including one person who was burned to death ? and Christian crowds set fire to cars in a show of defiance in the country’s second largest city and the prime minister’s seat of power.
Life in Pakistan is increasingly fraught with danger for religious minorities, especially Christians. They have been targeted by extremist Sunni Muslim militants who object to their faith.They are also discriminated against in the wider society where they can often only get menial jobs like garbage collection, and are frequently targets of blasphemy accusations.
The explosions occurred in quick succession in the Christian neighborhood of Youhana Abad at two churches while parishioners were celebrating Sunday morning services inside. The churches are about 600 meters (650 yards) apart.At least 70 people were wounded, said Zahid Pervez, the provincial director general of health, who gave the death toll.
One unidentified witness told Pakistan’s Geo television that the main gate to one of the churches targeted was closed so people were using a smaller gate.”One bomber exploded himself near that gate, that created chaos and during the course there was another blast,” he said.
Jamatul Ahrar, an offshoot of the Tehreek-e-Taliban, claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, according to reports.The attack has led to retaliatory protests.
According to TV reports, people indulged in violence and vandalized public property.Earlier, after the attack, an enraged mob severely beat two suspects alleged to be involved in the attack
They later set them on fire. Their bodies were completely charred.
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