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Militants bomb church: CEN 3.05.10 p 6. March 10, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Pakistan, Terrorism.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Diocese of Peshawar reports that Islamic militants have bombed St Augustine’s Church in Kohat in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province, badly damaging the colonial garrison church.

On Feb 12, a rocket or self-propelled grenade hit the perimeter wall of the church located near the city’s fort at 11:30 pm, badly damaging the church’s walls, doors and air-conditioning system.

The attack on the Christian community follows last year’s suicide car-bombing of the town’s central bazaar which targeted members of the Shia minority community in Kohat. The explosion during a busy market day killed 33 and wounded 80.

The government reported that a hitherto unknown militant group, the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi Al Almi, claimed responsibility for the September attack. The banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan denied having a role in the blast however the bomber was discovered to have come from territory controlled by the Taliban.

First reports from last month’s attack on St Augustine’s blame the Taliban.

In an email to supporters in the West, the Diocese reported the congregation had sustained a major financial loss, but “thank God there was no human loss”.

The North West Frontier Province was “in the frontline of the war against the militancy, and the Christian inhabitants of Kohat, Bannu, DI Khan, Karak, Tank and other tribal areas are living in a very tense situation,” the Diocese said, asking supporters to pray for “peace and especially for the Christian community of the Frontier Province”.

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