At least 9 killed, over 50 injured in Pakistan church attack

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At least nine people were killed and over 50 others wounded when two suicide bombers stormed the premises of a packed church in Quetta on Sunday, officials said, in the latest attack claimed by IS in the country.

Photo taken on Dec. 17, 2017 shows a view inside of an attacked church in southwest Pakistan's Quetta. [Photo/Xinhua]

Two suicide attackers struck the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church located at the Zarghoon Road area of Quetta, said Sarfraz Bugti, Interior Minister of Balochistan Province, adding that the attack happened when over 300 people were praying inside.

According to initial reports, an explosion took place, which was followed by an intensive exchange of gunfire.

The minister said one of the attackers was shot dead by police guards near the main entrance of the church, while another detonated a suicide vest inside the compound. 

A man evacuates children at the blast site in southwest Pakistan's Quetta, on Dec. 17, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

Police, rescue teams and security forces rushed to guard the church and the authorities have declared a state of emergency in all nearby hospitals.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi asked the authorities to provide the best available medical treatment to the injured.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal condemned the attack on Twitter, saying the country's resolve against terrorism cannot be deterred by these "cowardly acts."

Women cry as they are evacuated at the blast site in southwest Pakistan's Quetta, on Dec. 17, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

Deputy Inspector General of Police Abdul Razzaq said security forces acted in a timely manner, calling it a successful operation.

IS has claimed responsibility for the attack via its online news channel Amaq, without providing any evidence backing the claim.

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