CCTV footage shows terrorists entering Quetta's church premises

Gunmen wearing explosives-filled vests stormed the church in Quetta city when Sunday services began, exploding a suicide vest and shooting at the worshippers, Baluchistan province home minister Sarfraz Bugti said.

After the explosion was reported, an exchange of fire ensued between terrorists and security personnel, the news report said.

"We were in services when we heard a big bang", he said.

Jah said the venue - Bethel Memorial Methodist Church - was on high alert as Christian places of worship were often targeted by Islamist extremists over Christmas.

The attack on the church comes three years to the day a school in the same area was attacked by Taliban militants.

ISIS called the attacker who detonated his vest one of the "Crusaders" and said the other was killed while fighting "renegade Pakistani security forces".

Security forces led congregants out of the church.

.

"The prayer hall's wooden door broke and fell on us ..."

More news: Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upholds Brendan Dassey's conviction

An emergency has been declared in all public hospitals in Quetta.

In 2016 Lahore suffered one of Pakistan's deadliest attacks during the Easter season - a suicide bomb in a park that killed more than 70 people including many children. About 60 people were also injured. However, the second assailant managed to reach the entrance to the church where he blew himself up.

Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa also strongly condemned the terrorist attack on Quetta church.

CCTV footage released by the police showed the attackers, both carrying guns, approaching the church gates.

"Quetta church attack targeting our brotherly Christian Pakistanis is an attempt to cloud Christmas celebrations/create religious cleavages".

Foreign Office spokesperson Muhammad Faisal condemned the terror attack, saying Pakistan's resolve against terrorism can not be deterred by these cowardly acts of terrorists.

Christians make up an estimated 1.6 percent of Pakistan's 200 million people and have long faced discrimination - sidelined into lowly paid jobs and sometimes the target of trumped-up blasphemy charges.

  • Carlos Nash