Four Christians killed in Pakistan

A young girl lights a candle at a Marian Grotto in Pakistan Credit Magdalena Wolnik CNA 12 17 14 A young girl lights a candle at a Marian grotto in Pakistan. / Magdalena Wolnik.

Four members of a Christian family were killed by gunfire in the Pakistani city of Quetta on Monday in an attack for which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

The April 2 attack by men on two motorcycle came as the family was travelling in a rickshaw in a Christian neighborhood. The family, from Punjab province, were in the capital of Balochistan province to visit relatives for Easter.

According to Dawn, a Karachi daily, the deceased are Imran Masih, Tariq Masih, Pervez Masih, and Firdus Bibi. Sehar Pervez, a girl of about 12 and a daughter of one of the deceased, was injured in the attack.

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

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack April 3 through its Amaq News Agency.

In a separate incident in Quetta the same day, five people were killed after a protest by Hazaras, a Shia Muslim minority ethnic group.

Pakistan's state religion is Islam, and around 97 percent of the population is Muslim.

Christians have been targets of terrorist attacks and persecutions for blasphemy in recent years. A December 2017 attack on a Methodist church in Quetta killed eight.

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