Armed men shoot dead four members of Christian family in Quetta

ISIS says it was behind a terrorist attack on a Christian family in Quetta, Pakistan, that killed four people one day after Easter Sunday.

The militant group issued a statement saying ISIS fighters on Monday opened fire on the group of Christians traveling in the city of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, killing four, Reuters reported. The visitors had just boarded the vehicle when they were attacked. The statement added that the militants "shot them with a pistol, which resulted in the killing of four of them".

Police found 9mm bullet casings at the scene of the attack.

In December of previous year, a suicide bomb and gun attack targeting a Sunday service at a church in Quetta killed at least eight people and wounded over 56.

The British Pakistani Christian Association, which monitors and provides support for Christian victims of violence and persecution in the Muslim-majority country, said the Pakistani government has been warned of increasing IS threats, but has failed to take adequate safety measures. "It appears to have been a targeted attack", Balochistan IG Moazzam Jah Ansari said. Dead bodies were shifted to Civil Hospital.

"Armed forces personnel are on top of these terrorists' hit-list, followed by Hazara Shias and Christians", he said. The roads in between Christian communities and places of worship, however, remain vulnerable.

A massive Easter Sunday terror attack in 2016 led to 69 people being killed, both Muslims and Christians, at a children's park in Lahore where families were celebrating the Christian holiday.

"Pervaiz Masih had been living in Quetta for 10 years".

"The police and other law enforcement agencies had beefed up security at churches, and we acknowledge their efforts to protect us", George told Morning Star News. That attack too was claimed by the Islamic State. The Taliban targeted the school as revenge for Pakistani military operations against them.

In all, at least 242 people were killed in attacks in Balochistan province in 2017, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal research organisation. Around 2 percent of Pakistan's 200 million people are Christians. It was claimed by the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan and Pakistan, known as ISIS Khorasan.

  • Tracy Klein