QUETTA, Pakistan (Reuters) – Two suicide attackers opened fire inside a church in southwestern Pakistan on Sunday, killing at least five people and wounding up to 16 before being stopped by police guards, officials said.
The gunmen wearing explosives-filled vests stormed the church in Quetta city when Sunday services had just opened, exploding a suicide vest and shooting at the Christian worshippers, said Sarfraz Bugti, the home minister of Baluchistan province.
Police guards at the church exchanged fire with the attackers before they could enter the main sanctuary, said provincial police chief Moazzam Jah.
“There were nearly 400 people inside the church, but the attackers couldn’t get inside the services,” Jah said.
“We killed one of them, and the other one exploded himself after police wounded him.”
Jah said the church had guards because Christian places of worship are often targeted by Islamist extremist groups.
(Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Stephen Coates and Paul Tait)