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Four Pakistani Christians Killed In Attack Claimed By Islamic State


FILE: A Pakistani Christian survivor of an attack on a church leaves after attending Christmas Day mass in Quetta on December 25, 2017.

Four Christians were shot dead in southwestern Pakistan on April 2, police said, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

The group was travelling in a rickshaw when armed men on a motorcycle intercepted them and opened fire in the city of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan Province.

Three members of a family and the rickshaw driver were immediately killed, but a fifth -- a child -- survived and was rushed to the hospital, police said.

"It appears to have been a targeted attack," provincial police official Moazzam Jah Ansari told Reuters. "It was an act of terrorism."

The attack came a day after Pakistan's Christian community celebrated Easter. Around 2 percent of Pakistan's 200 million people are Christians.

Minority religious festivals are a security concern in the majority Sunni Muslim country where there have been numerous attacks on Christians and Shi'a Muslims.

Balochistan, a region bordering Iran as well as Afghanistan which has been wracked by violence, is home to three Sunni Islamist militant groups -- the Pakistan Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and Islamic State.

In December, a week before Christmas, two suicide bombers stormed a packed Christian church in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least 10 people and wounding up to 56, in another attack claimed by IS.

The family killed on April 2 had come to visit relatives in Quetta's Shah Zaman Road area, where many from the city's Christian community live.

Asia Bibi, a Catholic woman, has been living on death row in Pakistan since 2010, when she was condemned for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Islam.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

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