Twin blasts at churches in Pakistan kill 14, wound 78

Bombs outside two churches in the Pakistani city of Lahore kill 14 people and wound nearly 80 during Sunday services.

LAHORE, PAKISTAN (MARCH 15, 2015) (REUTERS) – Bombs outside two churches in the Pakistani city of Lahore killed 14 people and wounded nearly 80 during Sunday (March 15) services, and witnesses said quick action by a security guard prevented many more deaths.

A Pakistani Taliban splinter group claimed responsibility.

The blasts went off minutes apart in a majority Christian suburb of the eastern city. Police said it seemed they targeted two churches, one Catholic and one Protestant, that are very close to each other.

After the blasts, enraged residents lynched two suspects, police said.

“I was on guard inside. A small gate (of the church) was open. Suddenly there was the sound of a blast and the gate was blown away. I quickly turned like this (turning around), and all these splashes of blood and flesh fell on my clothes. After that, we got busy (with the rescue work),” Patras Bhatti, a church guard, said.

The guard died as well, he said. It was not clear if the first blast was also triggered by a suicide bomber, Masih said.

Fourteen people were killed and 78 wounded, said Zahid Pervaiz, provincial director of general health.

Taliban faction Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility.

Militants in Pakistan have attacked Christians and other religious minorities often over the last decade or more. Many blame the government for doing little to protect them. Pakistan’s police are notoriously poorly trained and under funded.