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Monday, 18 March, 2002, 08:53 GMT
US focus on Pakistan after attack
Police guard St Patrick's church, Islamabad
Security is now tight around the church
A senior American envoy has arrived in Pakistan after cutting short a visit to India, in the aftermath of Sunday's grenade attack on a church in Islamabad in which five people including two Americans died.

Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Christina Rocca will meet President Pervez Musharraf on Monday and then accompany the bodies of the two Americans - a diplomat's wife and daughter - back to the US.

Victims of the attack receive treatment in a local hospital
Victims were taken to a local hospital
President George W Bush earlier condemned the attack as "an outrage".

A Pakistani and an Afghan were also killed. Police are investigating whether the fifth victim is the bomber.

Forty-five others were injured, among them at least 10 more Americans and - reportedly - Sri Lanka's ambassador to Pakistan, his wife and child.

11 September comparison

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said he was deeply saddened by the attack, which he described as a "ghastly act of terrorism".

He is expected to discuss it with senior military commanders on Monday.

He has also called a high-level meeting of the country's top security agencies on Tuesday as the government searches for a comprehensive strategy to deal with armed militancy.


I strongly condemn them as acts of murder that cannot be tolerated by any person of conscience nor justified by any cause

President Bush
Ms Rocca compared the attack to the 11 September attacks on America.

"Six months ago the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center slaughtered innocent people from over 80 nations," she said in a statement.

"Sunday's attack in Islamabad was also against innocent individuals from many countries, this time joined together in prayer."

General Tommy Franks, who is spearheading the US military operation in neighbouring Afghanistan, is also in the region and is expected to be in Islamabad on Tuesday to hold talks with the Pakistani authorities.

Wounded include:
12 Pakistanis
10 Americans
Five Britons
One Afghan
Five Iranians
Three Sri Lankans
One Ethiopian, one German, one Iraqi

No group has said it carried out the attack, but reports say suspicion is falling on hard-line Islamic groups opposed to Pakistan's support for the US-led war on terror.

Up to 70 people had been in the Protestant International Church in the high security diplomatic quarter of the city.

Major challenge

Police say at least two men burst in and tossed six grenades at the congregation before escaping.

Members of the congregation outside the church
Worshippers were left in a state of shock
The US Embassy identified the dead Americans as Barbara Green and her daughter Kristen Wormsley, a student at the American School in Islamabad.

Mrs Green and her husband, Milton, both worked at the embassy - she in administration and he in the computer division.

A son, whose name has not been released, was slightly injured.

Our correspondent says the incident has posed a major challenge for President Musharraf.

He has declared that the campaign against extremist Islamic groups will continue but he may have to do much more to convince people, both at home and abroad, that Pakistan is a safe place.

Attacks on Christians in largely Muslim Pakistan are relatively rare, although a shooting incident in October 2001 in the eastern province of Punjab left 18 dead.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
US ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlain
"We will not give in to those driven by hate"
The BBC's Graham Satchell in Washington
"He said he was outraged"
Chief of Police in Islamabad Nassir Durrani
"We are in touch with other intelligence agencies"
See also:

04 Jan 02 | South Asia
Pakistan rounds up militants
29 Oct 01 | South Asia
Analysis: Pakistan's Christian minority
17 Mar 02 | South Asia
In pictures: Pakistan church blast
28 Oct 01 | South Asia
Christians massacred in Pakistan
07 Jan 02 | South Asia
Analysis: Musharraf on a tightrope
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