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Attack on Christian community in Pakistan leaves two people dead

(Reuters/Naseer Ahmed)A policeman takes position after gunmen attacked the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, Pakistan December 17, 2017.

At least two people were killed and three more were injured after armed men opened fire at a Christian neighborhood in Quetta, Pakistan.

The police stated that the shooting took place as worshippers were about to leave a church in the Essa Nagri area after the Sunday service.

The unidentified gunmen immediately fled the scene after the incident, according to Quetta Deputy Inspector General Abdur Razzaq Cheema.

The victims were reportedly rushed to the Bolan Medical Complex Hospital (BMC), but two died on the way.

Among the injured were a 38-year-old man named Chaudhry Samuel and two girls, 11-year-old Sonia Shakil and 13-year-old Mehwish William. The deceased have been identified as Rashid Khalid and Azhar Iqbal.

Relatives of the deceased complained that the hospital did not provide immediate treatment for the patients.

"At that time, there was no senior doctor in the hospital. The patients were handled by trainees who did not even know how to treat a bullet wound," said Parvez Masih, a relative of one of the deceased, according to The Express Tribune.

BMC Surgeon Dr. Mola Buksh noted that one of the injured girls has been transferred to the Civil HOspital's Trauma Centre so she can receive better treatment.

After the incident, some of the victims' relatives protested at Goli Mar Intersection, chanting slogans such as "[d]own with Balochistan chief minister, down with the Balochistan government."

Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti denounced the attack and vowed to issue a quick response.

The protesters also called on the government to provide protections for residents of Quetta's Christian community.

"Why are we coming under attack? Terrorists are freely attacking us but security forces and the provincial government are playing the role of silent spectator," said Amjad Faryad, the uncle of one of the deceased, as reported by The Express Tribune.

The attack in Essa Nagri is reportedly the third attack on the Christian community in Quetta in the last four months.

Earlier this month, four Christians were killed after gunmen opened fire while they were on a rickshaw traveling on Shah Zaman road. The victims reportedly came from Punjab to visit their relatives in Quetta. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack through the Amaq news agency.

The terror group also took credit for an attack in Quetta in December. At least nine people were killed, and 30 were injured after two suicide bombers attacked Bethel Memorial Methodist Church on Zarghoon Road while a service was ongoing.

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