ISIS says it was behind a terrorist attack on a Christian family in Quetta, Pakistan, that killed four people on Easter Monday. The relatives had been riding in a rickshaw when motorcycle-riding gunmen opened fire on them.
Three men and a woman died in the attack. A fifth person riding in the rickshaw — a 12-year-old girl — survived and was taken to the hospital, according to Pakistan’s Dawn news agency.
From Islamabad, NPR’s Diaa Hadid reports: “By targeting the family on the road, the gunmen found a weak link: Pakistani forces had stepped up security around churches, to stop militants who target Christians on their holiest days. But the roads are still vulnerable.
“The family was travelling in Quetta, a garrison town near the Afghan border. It’s the same town where ISIS militants stormed a church compound right before Christmas. They killed nine people.”
According to Pakistan’s Express Tribune, roughly 2% of Pakistan’s population is Christian.
Sources: NPR, International Christian Concern
- Pray the Lord will comfort those who are morning; may they experience a peace which passes all understanding as they come to terms with the loss.
- Ask the Lord to bring complete healing to the girl who survived the attack. Pray she may receive all necessary care and provision.
- Pray the Lord may strengthen the church throughout Pakistan who face severe opposition and are frequently targeted.
An Assyrian Christian family of three were murdered in their home in a predominantly Shia neighbourhood in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on Thursday 8 March.
Dr Hisham Shafiq al-Maskuni, 61, a radiologist, his wife Dr Shaza Malik Dinno, gynaecologist and her elderly mother, Khairiyah Dawood Abada, were stabbed by four men who then stole money and some items from the house.
The bodies were found by the neighbours the next morning, after they noticed through the open door the doctor’s body in the corridor, covered with blood. The police later found his wife’s body in the kitchen and her mother’s on the second floor.
A spokesperson for Iraq’s Interior Ministry announced on 10 March, that they had caught the suspects.
Although their motivation remains unknown, a local source told World Watch Monitor the incident has increased fears among Iraqi Christians. Just some weeks before this incident, a young Christian man, Samer Salah Addin, was shot dead in front of his house in Baghdad.
The doctor’s family had fled Iraq previously but then returned about five years ago. They were planning to leave Iraq again in the coming days.
The number of Christians in Iraq has been dramatically decreasing in recent years because of many violent incidents against them, particularly at the hands of ISIS. It has resulted in the closure of many churches because of dwindling congregations.
Source: World Watch Monitor
- Ask the Lord to bring comfort to loved ones, colleagues and patients, as they come to terms with their loss in the midst of shock and grief.
- Pray the Lord’s protection may be on the Christian community. May He shield them from violence and oppression.
- Pray these deaths may not be in vain but may be somehow used by the Lord as a witness for the love and light of the Gospel.
A pro-Islamic State (ISIS) group media outlet has issued a new threat against Egypt’s Coptic Christians, saying they must be attacked as “infidel fighters” and their churches must be blown up.
Twenty-eight Copts were killed in an attack for which ISIS claimed responsibility in which gunmen opened fire on pilgrims travelling to a monastery for Ascension Day.
The message, issued by the Wafa Media Foundation, said Copts did not accept dhimmitude – the condition of submission imposed by Sharia (Islamic law) on Christians in Islamic societies. Instead they should be fought because they continue to build churches and even promote television networks to spread the Christian message, Wafa said.
ISIS’s Egypt affiliate has claimed responsibility for massacres in churches on Palm Sunday and last December, and for an attack on a coach-load of Christian pilgrims in May. In February it issued a video in which it described Copts as its “favourite prey”.
Sources: World Watch Monitor, Fides news service
- Ask the Lord for His intervention and his merciful protection for Coptic believers. Ask Him to comfort the grieving, injured and those who are fearful.
- Pray the authorities in Egypt including the police and military will be granted wisdom, direction and strength by the Lord to safeguard against violence and bring perpetrators to justice.
- Pray against these latest threats so they will come to nothing. Remembering, we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).
Hundreds of Iraqi Christian families had recently returned to their hometown of Teleskuf, after being displaced for years due to attacks perpetrated by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, only to be forced to flee their northern Iraq community all over again.
These families have since relocated to Alqosh and other Christian villages in the Nineveh Plains where they are now seeking refuge from the internal conflict that’s presently taking place ─ this time, between two of the country’s governmental factions.
The town of Teleskuf, which is located about 30km north of Mosul, initially fell into the hands of ISIS terrorists in 2014. Yet, since its liberation last year, the town was rebuilt with the help of the international community; in particular, the Hungarian government. The collaborative rebuilding efforts made it possible for many Christian families to return to their homes.
However, now that rising tensions are taking place between the Central Government in Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government, there is a deepened level of sectarian strife in the rest of Iraq. Many civilians have been wounded in the conflict, resulting in the mutually shared security concerns of leaders representing various religious, political and civil society groups ─ along with numerous internally displaced persons ─ over the country’s troubling situation.
Sources: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, The Christian Post
- Please pray earnestly for the people caught up in new conflicts. Ask the Lord to bring rest from the violence.
- May God help those from the town of Teleskuf overcome the severe trauma they have endured by strengthening their faith and ensuring their needs for safety and provision are amply met.
- Pray for Iraq’s political leaders. Ask the Lord to grant them wisdom, diplomacy and direction as they seek to govern the country.
Two Chinese students, whom the Pakistani government accused of “preaching,” were kidnapped and killed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) in May.
Chinese nationals, Li Xinheng and Lu Ling Lina lived in Quetta, Pakistan, where they were studying at a local language school with the intent of becoming teachers.
On 24 May, their vehicle was stopped by men dressed as police officers. Li Xinheng and Lu Ling Lina were pulled from their vehicle and forced into another vehicle, while a third Chinese student managed to escape. A local man who tried to help the students was shot in the foot.
The Pakistani military responded by raiding the militants’ hideout and killing 12 ISIS fighters, but the two Chinese hostages were already dead. Other foreigners living in Pakistan are understandably concerned.
Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA
- Please pray for the families of the Chinese students who were killed, may the Lord minister to them in
- Pray for the 11 other Chinese students who have been sent home as a result of this incident. Pray they will be granted the Lord’s guidance.
- Pray for foreigners and locals in danger of being targeted. Ask for the Lord’s protection and deliverance.