Pakistan church blast kills dozens

  • 22 September 2013
  • From the section Asia
A Christian man in Lahore holding a cross jumps over burning tyres during a protest against a twin suicide bomb attack on a church in Peshawar, 22 September 2013
Image caption Pakistani Christians held protests following the Peshawar attacks

A twin-suicide bombing outside a church in Peshawar in Pakistan has killed at least 75 people, in one of the worst attacks on Christians in the country.

Two bombers blew themselves up as worshippers were coming out of the city's historic All Saints church after attending Sunday Mass, police say.

Relatives of the victims gathered at the scene to protest against the government's failure to protect them.

Militants linked to Pakistani Taliban have said they carried out the bombing.

The group, Jandullah, said it was in retaliation US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal northwest.

Sunday's twin attacks targeted Peshawar's historic All Saints Church as hundreds of worshippers were attending Mass.

Witnesses said they heard two blasts, the second more powerful than the first.

Suicide vests were later found outside the church, officials say. More than 120 people were wounded in the bombings.

It is the latest in a series of attacks on Pakistani Christians, who represent about 1.6% of the country's largely Muslim population.

The BBC's Shahzeb Jillani in Pakistan says the attack has outraged many people, but there is also a sense of helplessness about the government's apparent inability to prevent such atrocities.

There were angry scenes outside the church, with friends and relatives denouncing the government.

Demonstrations were held in other cities too.

In Karachi, police fired bullets in air and tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters.

Media captionSunday's twin attacks targeted Peshawar's historic All Saints Church
Image caption Grieving relatives gathered to identify their relatives
Image caption The Pakistani Christian minority feels vulnerable to militant attacks
Image caption Security has been strengthened outside a number of Pakistani Christian churches following Sunday's attack