At least 12 dead as blast hits Lahore churches
The explosions occurred during prayers near two churches in the city’s Youhanabad area, home to more than 100,000 Christians, sparking angry protests and mourning among the beleaguered minority community.
Reports suggested that two suicide bombers blew up themselves at gates of churches – Roman Catholic Church and Christ Church which are located within one kilometres distance in Youhanabad neighbourhood.
Two cops identified as Asghar and Yawar Ali are also among the dead.
CCTV footage of the blast:
According to police, the slain cops had tried to stop suicide bombers from entering the Church, leading to their deaths. Police said the martyred cops saved lives of hundreds of people.
Pastor David, a local cleric at the site, said: “One blast took place at the entrance of one church where a congregation was going on. Another blast took place in the second church,” adding that the two buildings were 500 metres (1,600 feet) apart.
This attack was the worst on the community since a devastating double suicide bombing in the northwestern city of Peshawar in 2013 killed 82 people.
2:45 pm – Protesters, who had captured three policemen, have now released them after torture. The protesters accused the policemen of watching Pakistan cricket match when the blast took hit two churches.
2:14 pm – Medical superintendent General Hospital has appealed people for donation of blood for the blast victims.
1:53 pm – All missionary schools will remain closed tomorrow [Monday] in mourning.
1:38 pm – People from Christian community have taken to streets at Karachi’s Essa Nagri and blocked the artery. They burnt tyres and chanted against the government.
1:29 pm – According to foreign news agency AFP, Taliban have claimed responsibility of the attack.
1:16 pm – People shouted slogans against the government upon arrival of Federal Minister Kamran Michael to the General Hospital to inquire after the injured persons.
Protesters slam PM Nawaz Sharif
1:12 pm – Furious mob has locked three policemen at a shop near church.
1:05 pm – Protesters forced DCO Lahore to leave the blast site upon his arrival. They are chanting slogans against the government.
1:00 pm – Enraged mob has blocked route of metro bus service and pelting stones on passing vehicles.
12:58 pm – Several political leaders including PTI chairman Imran Khan, PPP patron-in-chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari have strongly condemned the blast at churches in Lahore.
12: 50 pm – Lahore administration has suspended Metro Bus service in the city in view of protests at different sites against the blast.
12:42 pm – Doctors at General Hospital confirmed that at least 50 injured have been brought to the medical facility, while four persons have been killed.
12:35 pm – Protesters have burned to death two suspects caught from the site. Weapons were also recovered from the slain suspects.
12:31 pm – Casualties have now risen to four including a policeman and a child.
12:30 pm – Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan has sought report of the blast two churches.
12:28 pm – Police have also arrested one suspect of the blast.
12:26 pm – Scores of incensed people gathered at the blast site raising loud slogans against PM Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
12:25 pm – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has taken notice of the blast and sought report from the Punjab government.
12:23 pm – Two suspects are arrested from the ground zero. Enraged people badly beaten both the suspects. They are in critical condition.
12:21 pm – Initial reports suggested that Christ Church suffered more damage. More casualties are reported from the Christ Church.
12:19 pm – Police sources say that the blast was a suicide attack. At least 10 to 12 kilograms of explosives were used in the attack, they added.
12:17 pm – The blasts rocked the Youhanabad neighbourhood where a Catholic Church and Christ Church are located.
12:13 pm -The deceased persons include a policeman and a child. The majority of the population in the area consists of Christian community. According to sources, the explosion occurred right in front of the churches gate, however its nature could not determined as yet.
12:06 pm – Eyewitnesses told that at least 70 persons were present at the church when the blast occurred. The injured and the bodies are shifted to General Hospital Lahore.