81 dead from Pakistan church blasts, many injured
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A Pakistan police official says the death toll from a church bombing has risen to 81 as angry Christians protested the deadliest attack ever in Pakistan against members of their faith.
Police official Noor Khan says the death toll from Sunday's bombing in the northwestern city of Peshawar rose overnight to 81, after three more of the wounded died.
A pair of suicide bombers blew themselves up amid hundreds of worshippers at a historic church in Peshawar on Sunday, killing 81 people in the attack against the Christian minority.
A wing of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing, raising new questions about the government's push to strike a peace deal with the militants to end the decade-long insurgency that has killed thousands.
The Jundullah arm of the Taliban said they would continue to target non-Muslims until the US stopped drone attacks in Pakistan's remote tribal region.
The attack on the All Saints Church, which wounded 141 people, occurred as worshippers were leaving after services to get a free meal of rice offered on the front lawn, said a top government administrator, Sahibzada Anees.
"There were blasts and there was hell for all of us," said Nazir John, who was at the church in the city's Kohati Gate district along with at least 400 other worshippers. "When I got my senses back, I found nothing but smoke, dust, blood and screaming people. I saw severed body parts and blood all around.''
Survivors wailed and hugged one another in the wake of the blasts. The white walls of the church, which first opened in the late 1800s, were pockmarked with holes caused by ball bearings contained in the bombs to cause maximum damage. Blood stained the floor and the walls.
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