Two Islamist terrorists attacked the Sunday morning service at Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, Pakistan yesterday, 17 December. At least nine Christians died at the church or in hospital from their injuries, including women and children. There was a sustained gunfight with security forces and one of the terrorists blew himself up at the church entrance; another was shot dead. Islamic State have claimed responsibility for the attack.
Rev. Simon, the pastor of the church, was in tears, unable to speak, when Wilson Saraj, Barnabas Fund’s Regional Coordinator called him soon after the attack. Wilson had been worshipping at the same church on 8 October. Yesterday, an extra large congregation filled the church building because it is so close to Christmas. Amongst them were some of poor and needy families who receive monthly food parcels from Barnabas Fund. At least three of the feeding programme families have sustained serious loss: two fathers, on duty at the main gates of the church compound, died during the attack, and a widow remains in hospital.
Courageous Christian martyrs who saved many lives
The courageous men who sacrificed their lives at the main gates were Sultan Masih (aged 36) and George Masih (aged 63, not related to Sultan). Realising they were about to be attacked, Sultan quickly locked the gates and warned others to get into the church building and leave him to deal with the terrorists. A second after he locked the gates the first terrorist arrived, as recorded by the CCTV cameras. It took the terrorists 82 seconds to climb the gate and get in, thus giving valuable time to the believers to take cover. George also can be seen on the CCTV before the terrorist jump down. Both Sultan and George were killed, but their tremendous bravery in facing the terrorists alone saved many other lives.
Urgent prayer needed
Please pray for protection for Christians in Pakistan and around the world, as Islamic State and other Islamist terrorist groups increase their attacks for the Christmas period. A second church attack, also inspired by Islamic State, had been planned yesterday, St Petersburg, Russia, but was foiled by intelligence and security.
Please help the Christian victims in Quetta
Barnabas has sent funds for emergency help for the survivors at Quetta to help with burial, medical and other costs. Please give now to help the Christian victims of this attack.
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