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At least 70 dead in attack on Christians in Pakistan; Pope decries massacre

March 28, 2016

On Easter Sunday evening, a suicide bomber attacked a park in Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city, killing over 70 people and injuring more than 300.

The Islamist militant group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the attack.

“Members of the Christian community who were celebrating Easter today were our prime target,” the group’s spokesman told NBC News. “We didn’t want to kill women and children. Our targets were male members of the Christian community.”

Following his Regina Coeli address on Easter Monday, Pope Francis decried the “massacre of so many innocent persons.”

“I wish to express my closeness to all those affected by this cowardly and senseless crime, and ask you to pray to the Lord for the numerous victims and their loved ones,” he said.

He added:

I appeal to the civil authorities and to all the social components of [Pakistan] to do everything possible to restore security and peace to the population and, in particular, to the most vulnerable religious minorities. I repeat, once again, that violence and murderous hatred lead only to pain and destruction; respect and fraternity are the only way to achieve peace. May the Easter of the Lord inspire in us, in an even more powerful way, prayers to God so that he may stop the hands of the violent, who spread terror and death, and make it possible for love, justice and reconciliation to reign in the world.


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