Death toll rises to 70 in attack that targeted Christians in Lahore
The number of deaths increased to 70 in the Easter Sunday suicide bombing in Lahore, Pakistan. The terrorist attack at a public park was claimed by the Pakistani Taliban’s Jamaat-ur-Ahrar faction, which once declared its loyalty to ISIS. The group claims it was targeting Christians.
In an escalation of brutality, Jamaat-ur-Ahrar is trying to gain notoriety by claiming their fifth bombing in the last few months. Pakistan, a predominantly muslim country has numerous radicalized Islamic terror factions that are fighting for attention.
Of the 70 Lahore bombing victims, 29 were children. The suicide bomber set off the explosive device near children’s rides in the park. Pakistani officials have vowed to bring the perpetrators of this horrible crime to justice.
Response from Christian Leaders around the World
Christian leaders around the world have condemned this vicious attack. The extreme Islamic holy war against Christians and the state of Israel continues to divide the world on Muslim leader’s efforts to stem the violence.
The Vatican said Pope Francis was praying for the victims and their families in the aftermath of the suicide bombing, which “casts a shadow of sadness and anguish on the feast of the Easter”.
Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the worldwide Anglican communion tweeted:
We pray for the victims of Lahore to the crucified God who brings hope in despair, whose love is with the victims, who promises justice
— Justin Welby ن (@JustinWelby) March 27, 2016
The archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, the Catholic leader in England and Wales, said: “The perversity of evil knows no bounds. It sinks to a new low of hatred in deliberately targeting women and children celebrating their Easter Day in peace.
“This despicable act, aimed at Christians, is utterly contemptible and condemned just as we fervently pray for those who have died and been wounded.”
There are fewer than 4 million Christians living in Pakistan, a nation of 192 million people.
Obama Silent on Terror Against Christians by Islamic Extremists
President Obama did not issue a statement on the suicide bombing, passing it on to a spokesman for the State Department.
The United States stands with the people and Government of Pakistan at this difficult hour. We send our deepest condolences to the loved ones of those killed and injured, and our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Lahore as they respond to and recover from this terrible tragedy,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said.
“Attacks like these only deepen our shared resolve to defeat terrorism around the world, and we will continue to work with our partners in Pakistan and across the region to combat the threat of terrorism,” Kirby said.
The official White House statement failed to mention the specific targeting of Christians by Islamic extremists:
The United States condemns in the strongest terms today’s appalling terrorist attack in Lahore, Pakistan. This cowardly act in what has long been a scenic and placid park has killed dozens of innocent civilians and left scores injured. We send our deepest condolences to the loved ones of those killed, just as our thoughts and prayers are with the many injured in the explosion. The United States stands with the people and Government of Pakistan at this difficult hour. We will continue to work with our partners in Pakistan and across the region, as together we will be unyielding in our efforts to root out the scourge of terrorism.