Peshawar Priest Shot Dead In Targeted Attack

Peshawar Priest Shot Dead In Targeted Attack
In an attack targeting the Christian community, two priests were shot by armed assailants in Peshawar as they drove home from Mass on Sunday, leaving one of them dead.

Driving in Peshawar's Gulbahar neighborhood, Father William Siraj, aged 75, died instantly in the priests' vehicle after sustaining multiple gun shot wounds.  Father Naeem Patrick, also in the car, was shot in the hand and was briefly treated at Lady Reading Hospital from where he was discharged shortly after.

While no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, police are terming the incident a 'terrorist attack.' Police offered condolences to the provincial capital's Christian community and vowed to capture the culprits.

The memorial service for the deceased priest will be held at Peshawar's All Saint's Church on Monday, the same church were in 2013, two suicide bombers killed 70 worshippers and injured 100 more during a Sunday morning church service. .

"We are determined to protect minorities," said Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Abbas Ahsan.

Along with geo-fencing and CCTV footage from the area, local police are working with the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) to apprehend the suspects. In recent days, violent attacks across Pakistan have shaken the population, particularly members of minority communities, who are often considered by militants to be 'soft targets.'

The priests were clergy of the Diocese of Peshawar in the Church of Pakistan, a union of protestant churches.