Deadliest Attack on Pakistan Christians Kills 78

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 22 2013 2:26 PM

Deadliest Attack on Pakistan Christians Kills 78

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Pakistani Christians carry a body after two suicide bomb attacks on a Church in Peshawar

Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a church in northwestern Pakistan Sunday, killing 78 people in the deadliest-ever attack against the country’s Christian minority, reports the Associated Press. The bombers detonated their explosives just as Sunday services were ending and there were hundreds of worshippers at the 130-year-old church in Peshawar. One of the suicide bombers detonated himself inside the church while another apparently was unable to enter the church and detonated his bomb outside, according to Pakistani newspaper Dawn. The bombers detonated their bombs within 30 seconds of each other. “The death toll may rise,” said Zaheerul Islam, Peshawar’s deputy commissioner, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Taliban-linked Pakistani militant group TTP Jundullah claimed responsibility for the attack, reports Reuters. The group said it will continue to target non-Muslims in Pakistan until the United States ends its drone attacks in Pakistan’s remote tribal region. On Sunday, a drone strike in North Waziristan killed six suspected militants. Shortly after the attack, protests broke out in several major cities across the country. But while there was lots of anger at the attack, there was also a “sense of helplessness about the government’s apparent inability to prevent such atrocities,” notes the BBC.

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Correction, Sept. 23, 2013: The original headline on this blog post wrongly implied the attack was "blamed on U.S. drones." The headline has been revised.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.