|Peshawar Christian slaughter toll climbs to 81, including 37 women
The death toll from a double suicide bombing on a church in Pakistan climbed to 81 today, as Christians protested across the country demanding better protection.
The attack on All Saints church in the northwestern city of Peshawar after a service on Sunday, claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, is believed to be the deadliest ever to target Pakistan's small Christian minority.
Doctor Arshad Javed of the city's main Lady Reading hospital told AFP the death toll had risen to 81 overnight, including 37 women. A total of 131 people were wounded.
Christians demonstrated in cities around Pakistan, including Karachi and Faisalabad, to protest against the violence and demand better protection from the authorities.
In Islamabad more than 100 protesters blocked a major city highway for several hours during the rush hour in the morning today, causing long tailbacks, an AFP reporter said.
Pakistan's umbrella Taliban movement claimed responsibility, saying it had set up a new faction, Junood ul-Hifsa, to kill foreigners to avenge US drone strikes on Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives in the country's tribal areas along the Afghan border.
“We carried out the suicide bombings at Peshawar church and will continue to strike foreigners and non-Muslims until drone attacks stop,'' Ahmad Marwat, a spokesman for the group, told AFP by telephone.