Fatal attack on Pakistan courthouse, Christian community

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Suicide bombers have killed at least 11 people in twin attacks in the northwest of the country. It is the latest in a spate of violence againt religious minorites carried out by the Pakistani Taliban.

Pakistan was hit by two separate militant attacks on Friday, killing at least 11 people and wounding dozens. While security forces tried to fend off four suicide bombers targeting a Christian colony in the northwest of the country, a blast at a court building in the city of Mardan left some 50 casualties.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the court bombing would “not shatter our unflinching resolve in our war against terrorism.”

“These receding elements are showing frustration by attacking our soft targets. They shall not get space to hide in Pakistan,” Sharif added.

The chief of rescue operations in Mardan told the press that his team had recovered the bodies of lawyers, policeman, and civilians. Forty people were taken to local hospitals, where 11 of them died of their injuries, he said.

Terrorists target Christians

The violence was claimed by a breakaway group of the Pakistani Taliban, which has carried out at least one attack in Mardan before, and was also behind the violence on a Christian community earlier on Friday.

Four gunmen wearing suicide vests from the Jamaat-ur-Ahrar group ambushed the community near the city of Peshawar, killing at least one security guard and one civilian. Security officials were able to push the terrorists back in the ensuing gun battle, but at least five people were wounded in the melee, according to authorities.

The Taliban is known for targeting minority groups in Pakistan. In March of this year, a militant attacked a Easter celebration in the city of Lahore, killing 70 people. A few years earlier, Pakistan saw its deadliest attack on religious minorities in its history when two Taliban suicide bombers claimed 100 lives in a Christian church in Peshawar.

es/mg (AFP, Reuters)