Pakistan police catch suspect in bombing of Pakistan Bible Society
Police in Karachi, Pakistan, say that Shamim Ahmed, whom they arrested Saturday, is believed to be linked to Thursday's bombing of the Pakistan Bible Society's Christian Reading Library. He is also reportedly a member of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the radical Sunni Muslim group behind several attacks on Christians and Shi'a Muslims, including the October 2001 deadly attack on a Church of Pakistan service in Bahawalpur. That attack killed 16 Protestant worshipers. There were no deaths in Thursday's bombing, but 13 were injured, including at least two Christians.
Ahmed reportedly told police where they could find a bomb-making factory in the poor southeastern Karachi neighborhood of Mehmoodabad, where police found "grenades, remote-control devices, parcel bombs and two ready-to-use bombs weighing about 22 pounds each," according to the Associated Press.
At least one other suspect in the bombing remains at large.
The Pakistan Christian Post reports that some Muslim government leaders claim last week's attacks did not target Christians. "The explosions were planned to kill police and rangers, and [the] church was not the main target," a Sindh government spokesman said. But that apparently contradicts earlier statements by police, who said they were responding to a tip that the Pakistan Bible Society would be attacked.
Another Catholic church attacked in Sri Lanka
In addition to the Karachi car bomb, Thursday's Weblog also noted an attack on St. Michael's Church in Katuwana, Homagama, Sri Lanka. The situation in that country continues to deteriorate, as another church—this one in Hokandara—was attacked before Sunday services, presumably by militant Buddhists. "Only part of the building was damaged, and there were no injuries," reports the Associated Press.
Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has ordered the police chief to "show no leniency" in investigating and arresting those responsible for the wave of church attacks.
"We are for the firm maintenance of law and order and we can't tolerate such action irrespective of the party, religion, caste or social standing of the people involved," presidential spokesman Sarath Amunugama told Agence France-Presse.
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