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Twin church blasts claim 80 lives in Peshawar

Updated September 22, 2013
Pakistani Christians react after the killing of their relatives following two suicide bomb attacks on a Church in Peshawar. -AFP Photo
Pakistani Christians react after the killing of their relatives following two suicide bomb attacks on a Church in Peshawar. -AFP Photo
Pakistani Christians mourn the killing of their relatives, in two suicide bomb attacks on a Church, at a hospital  in Peshawar. -AFP Photo
Pakistani Christians mourn the killing of their relatives, in two suicide bomb attacks on a Church, at a hospital in Peshawar. -AFP Photo
Security officials suspeced that the blast was carried out by a suicide bomber however they declined to confirm the details until a thorough probe was conducted.   — File Photo
Security officials suspeced that the blast was carried out by a suicide bomber however they declined to confirm the details until a thorough probe was conducted. — File Photo
All Saints Church resembles a mosque - Picture by Hammad Ahmed Abbasi
All Saints Church resembles a mosque - Picture by Hammad Ahmed Abbasi

PESHAWAR: Twin explosions at All Saint's Church in Peshawar's Kohati gate area killed 80 people and wounded over 100 others on Sunday.

The victims of the blast included children and women who were shifted to the Lady Reading Hospital.

Earlier, Chief Executive of LRH, Dr Arshad Jawed told Dawn.com that 61 people had been killed in the attack.

The blast also shattered the windows of nearby buildings.

Additional Inspector General Shafqat Malik of the Bomb Disposal Squad told media persons that two suicide bombers had carried out the attack and that body parts of the attackers had been recovered and sent for forensic examinations.

He added that six kilograms of explosives were used in the suicide vests of the bombers.

Capital City Police Chief, Mohammad Ali Babakhel said, "the first attack happened when services had finished and people were leaving the church.The suicide bomber tried to attack the people, but when he was stopped by the police he detonated the bomb. The second blast was carried out inside the church."

Moreover, SP (City) Ismail Tariq also confirmed that two attackers opened fire at the security guards deployed at the church killing one guard and injuring the other before entering the church premesis.

The two bomber detonated their explosive vests within an interval of 30 seconds after entering the church.

Markets and shops in the locality closed down in the vicintity as tension and panic griped the area after the incident.

Moreover, enraged protestors took to the streets and set ablaze the belongings of the police personnel who were deputed at the church for security.

All Saints Church resembles a mosque and has served as a symbol for peace and harmony.

Kohati Gate area is one of the sensitive localilties in Peshawar, where at least three churches and several imambargahs are located.

Moreover arrangements for the funeral services of the blast victims were being made at the St John's Cathedral in the city.

Meanwhile another explosion in Balochistan's Sibi area injured nine persons on Sunday and damaged several cars and shops in the vicinity of the blast.

Police sources said that the bomb was planted on a motorcycle which was remotely detonated on Nishtar road in Sibi's Karim chowk area.

All injured were shifted to Civil hospital Sibi where the condition of two wounded was reported as critical.

Security and rescue reams reached the blast site and cordoned off the area as a probe into the incident went underway.

The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have distanced themselves from the attack and denied that they were responsible.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack in a statement sent to reporters, saying, ''The terrorists have no religion and targeting innocent people is against the teachings of Islam and all religions.''

''Such cruel acts of terrorism reflect the brutality and inhumane mindset of the terrorists,'' he said.

Three days of mourning declared

Federal Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan announced a nationwide three-day mourning period in the aftermath of the attack on Peshawar's All Saint's Church.

Expressing outrage on behalf of the prime minister and the president, Nisar said that he was shocked by the brutality of the attack and condemned it in the strongest terms.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had also declared three days of mourning.