Pakistan's security forces on high alert after church attack - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Pakistan's security forces on high alert after church attack

Updated:
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ Pakistan put its military and police on high alert Monday, beefing up security at Islamabad diplomatic missions and churches after a terrorist attack on a Protestant congregation killed five people, including two Americans.

In an assault clearly directed at foreigners, at least one man dressed in black hurled grenades into a packed Protestant church Sunday, sending shrapnel through the crowd and splattering the sanctuary's walls with blood and flesh.

The dead included a U.S. Embassy worker and her teen-age daughter. More than 45 people _ most of them foreigners _ were injured.

No group claimed responsibility, but suspicion fell on Islamic extremists.

President Bush condemned the attack in the guarded diplomatic quarter at the heart of Pakistan's capital, about 400 yards from the U.S. Embassy compound.

A high-ranking State Department official cut short her India visit and traveled to Pakistan. Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca arrived in Islamabad on Monday, but the U.S. Embassy declined to reveal any details about her plans.

The State Department warned Americans abroad of ``the imminent threat of terrorist actions'' and said terrorists ``will seek softer targets'' as security is increased at official U.S. facilities.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the attack was aimed at undermining Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf as he tries to quell Islamic fundamentalism following the Taliban's fall in neighboring Afghanistan.

Musharraf called a meeting Monday with top military commanders to review Pakistan's overall security. A second high-level meeting was scheduled for Tuesday.

Authorities also are reviewing security in the diplomatic quarter while searching for suspects, Interior Ministry official Javed Iqbal Cheema told The Associated Press. No arrests have been made, he said.

Ten Americans were among the 45 injured, along with 12 Pakistanis, five Iranians, one Iraqi, one Ethiopian and one German, police said. The injured also included Sri Lankans, Afghans, Swiss, Britons, Australians and Canadians.

Survivors of the attack at the Protestant International Church spoke of deafening blasts, choking smoke and pandemonium as terrified parents screamed for their children. Stunned worshippers dived beneath chairs and behind cement pillars as grenades exploded during the sermon.

Parishioners called out ``Brother! Brother!'' while trying to find friends and family.

Parents groped to find their way downstairs, where children were attending Sunday School. Other parishioners feared touching the wounded because unexploded grenades lay near their bodies.

Mark Robinson, of San Clemente, Calif., who suffered a minor leg injury, described ``total pandemonium.''

``Everyone panicked,'' Robinson said. ``I saw one woman on the steps with a piece of shrapnel in her carotid artery. She bled to death right there.''

The U.S. Embassy identified the dead Americans as Barbara Green and her daughter, Kristen Wormsley, a senior at the American School in Islamabad.

Green worked in embassy administration and her husband, Milton, worked in the computer division. Their son, whose name was not released, was slightly injured.

The other casualties included one Afghan, one Pakistani and one unidentified person, Pakistani officials said. Senior police superintendent Nasir Khan Durrani said the assailant may have died.

Witnesses gave conflicting reports on the number of attackers, ranging from one to three. Late Sunday, Durrani said authorities believed only one attacker was involved.

Islamic militants are outraged at Pakistan's support for the U.S.-led war on terrorism in Afghanistan and Musharraf's ban on five Islamic extremist groups accused of violence and terrorism.

The kidnap-slaying of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was considered part of an extremist campaign to embarrass the government and undercut Western support. Four people have been arrested.

Pakistan's interior minister, Moinuddin Haider, told CNN that Sunday's attack may have been ``to give a message to the West'' by ``those people who are against this war against terrorism.''

U.S. Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin said Sunday the attack would not dampen support for Musharraf.

Powered by Frankly
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 KOTV. Oklahoma Traveler™ is a registered trademark of Griffin Communications. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.