A suicide blast claimed by Islamist militants ripped through crowds of families celebrating Easter at a park in the city of Lahore on Sunday, killing at least 70 people and injuring an additional 300 in an attack the jihadists said had deliberately targeted Christians.No surprise on the perpetrators, either:
The attack was carried out by a suicide bomber in the parking lot of Gulshan e-Iqbal Park around 6:30 p.m., transforming a joyful scene of picnicking families into a spectacle of chaos and horror. Many children were among the dead, local officials said.
A spokesman for the Jamaat ul-Ahrar militant group, which is an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban, asserted responsibility in a telephone interview on Sunday.Meanwhile, in Yemen:
“It was our people who attacked the Christians in Lahore, celebrating Easter,” the spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, said. “It’s our message to the government that we will carry out such attacks again until sharia Islamic law is imposed in the country.”
The Islamic State committed a grisly Good Friday commemoration, crucifying a Catholic priest.
The Rev. Thomas Uzhunnalil, a Salesian priest, was kidnapped in Yemen in early March during a raid on a nursing home run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.It won't do to pretend that Christians aren't capable of terror themselves. You could ask Lord Mountbatten about that one, to use just one example. We are called to be better than we are, but as sinners we regularly fall short. What we rarely face, at least in the West, is the possibility that we might die for our faith. As we enter into the Easter season, it's worth remembering that martyrdom isn't an abstraction.
His execution by the Islamist sect, using the same method used by the Romans on Jesus and marked on Good Friday every year, was confirmed at the Easter Vigil Mass by Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna.
Father Uzhunnalil was a native of India and had been the object of both prayers and diplomatic efforts since the March 4 raid where 16 Christian nuns and nurses were killed.