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Pakistan marks church bombing anniversary

Thousands attend service to remember deadly attacks

Pakistan marks church bombing anniversary

Pakistani Christians in this file photo stage a protest in Lahore against the killing of their community members in two suicide bomb attacks on a church. (Photo by Arif Ali/AFP)

Kamran Chaudhry, Lahore

March 20, 2017

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Catholics and Protestants marked, on March 15, two years since 15 Christians in Lahore were killed by Taliban bombers. 

More than 2,000 attended the memorial service at a convent in Youhanabad, the largest Christian settlement in Lahore. 

Twelve priests concelebrated Mass led by Father Emmanuel Yousaf Mani, director of the Pakistani bishops' Justice and Peace Commission. He also commemorated the dozens wounded and the security guards who tried to stop the bombers from entering St. John's Catholic Church on March 15, 2015. 

Forty-two Christians are in jail for lynching two Muslims suspected of being involved in the attacks minutes after the bombings.

"It has been two years and the case of the 42 is still pending, we demand their freedom," said Father Mani, denying rumors they had already been sentenced.

Lahore suffered two terrorist attacks in February and security at the service was tight. 

"We should remember the courage of the locals who gave their lives and saved many inside the church. I pray that God accepts their martyrdom. They are our heroes," Father Mani said.

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