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Grenade injures two children at church

Taliban suspected as parish goes ahead with pilgrimage

  • Ayyaz Gulzar, Karachi
  • Pakistan
  • September 7, 2012
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Two children were injured when unidentified suspects hurled a grenade near a Catholic church in Karachi on Wednesday. The parish has tightened security for an annual Marian pilgrimage this weekend.

“It was a handmade grenade thrown for test purposes,” said police sub-inspector  Ashfaq Baloch. “Taliban groups have established their bases in the surrounding area; perhaps they wanted to assess the extent of damages. We have started the investigation.”

Organizers of the pilgrimage, scheduled from today to Sunday, have limited the program. Tents have been removed from the road fronting St. Joseph’s Catholic church, and choir groups and Sunday school teachers have been advised not to come for daily practice.

The two Christian children who were injured in the blast have returned home and are recovering from leg burns. “It was like an earthquake. I fell down; there was nothing except smoke," said 16-year-old Sonia Yousuf, one of the victims.

This is the third time St. Joseph’s has been targeted in the week before the Marian pilgrimage. The building was stoned last year, and the blessed items on the altar were stolen two years ago.

Church committee members debated whether to postpone the celebration but have decided to go ahead. They will collaborate with police officials for security arrangements, the priest said.

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