Pakistan: ambush in Peshawar, a priest killed and another wounded

from Foreign Online Editing

Father William Siraj died instantly while returning home with two other priests after Sunday mass. So far no one has claimed responsibility for the ambush.

A Christian priest was killed and another wounded by gunmen who opened fire on the street in Hayatabad, a suburb of Peshawar, in northwestern Pakistan. The priests were driving home afterwards Sunday mass when the ambush was triggered, Father William Siraj, 75, was hit by numerous bullets and died instantly while Father Naeem Patrick was only smeared in the hand. Another priest in the car was unharmed.

So far no group has claimed responsibility for the ambush that is only the latest against the Christian minority of Pakistan, repeatedly targeted by Islamic extremists in recent years. The violence increased suddenly last month when the Pakistani Taliban ended the ceasefire with the government.

Tomorrow a memorial service for Father Siraj will be celebrated in the All Saints Church in Peshawar, the same one attacked by militants with bombs and gunshots in 2013 when 70 faithful died.

Police are examining CCTV footage to locate the attackers, who according to witnesses fled on motorcycles. Prime Minister Mahmood Shah of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province condemned the attack, urging the police to find the culprits as soon as possible. Bishop Humphrey Peter also condemned the murder which aims to damage interfaith harmony.

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