A grenade attack on a Protestant worship service in the diplomatic quarter of Islamabad, Pakistan's capital, left five people dead and another 40-plus wounded. The dead included an American embassy worker and her teenage daughter, a Pakistani woman, and an Afghan man. A fifth body remains unidentified.
The attack occurred Sunday morning, March 17, at the Protestant International Church, which is a short distance from the American embassy. Among the injured Americans are four Southern Baptists and three workers from The Evangelical Alliance Mission (team).
Winnie Ritchie, 81, a retired teacher from Chicago who runs an English-language library in Islamabad, dove under some chairs to shield herself during the assault. One grenade landed about four feet from her but did not detonate. "The church was filled with white smoke," she told Christianity Today. "When it settled, it was just a devastating picture."
Pakistan native Chris Ali, a U.S. citizen and counselor for the Teen Challenge center in Islamabad, suffered a shrapnel wound. Nasim Ali, his wife, had a broken left leg.
"I think that their resolve to minister and their dedication to the task [have] not been deterred by this," said Mark Burgund of Calvary Church, the Alis' home church in Naperville, Illinois.
Denis and Diane Sherbeck, who run a media ministry for team, were also injured. He was hospitalized overnight for leg and shoulder wounds. Diane Sherbeck was injured from flying debris. Tammy Soderstrom, also of team, suffered an arm wound.
Charles Rogers, director of corporate security for World Vision, told Christianity Today that terrorists are focusing on softer targets.
"And there is no softer target than a Christian missionary," Rogers said.
Despite the danger, retiree ...1
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