The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) armed group has attacked Bethel Memorial Methodist Church Quetta City, Pakistan.
A suicide bomb and gun attack on a Methodist church in Pakistan has killed at least eight people, officials say.
Militants stormed the church, which was packed with worshippers at the time, in the city of Quetta, some 65km (40 miles) from the Afghan border.
The Islamic State group has said it carried out the attack.
Two suicide bombers were stopped at the entrance to the church, Sarfraz Bugti, the Balochistan region’s home minister, said.
Had the men got any further, there could have been hundreds of casualties, he added. A second attacker fired upon worshippers, before being killed by security forces at the scene.
“We have cleared the immediate area around the church, and we are now clearing a peripheral area further out,” Moazzam Jah Ansari, police chief of Balochistan province, told reporters at the site of the attack.
Witnesses reported a heavy exchange of gunfire in the neighborhood as police worked to clear the area.
“People were fleeing to the corners [of the church]. I couldn’t understand what was happening; it happened so suddenly,” a woman, who was at the church when the attack occurred, said on condition of anonymity.
Waseem Ahmed, an official at the nearby Civil Hospital, said 33 people were wounded in the attack.
More than 200 people were gathered at the church for the service at the time of the attack.
Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan where militant attacks have surged in recent weeks. Islamist militants and separatist groups active in the Pakistani province often claim responsibility for terrorist attacks. Islamic State loyalists have also taken credit for some of the violence.
Last month, a suicide attack targeting paramilitary soldiers killed at least four people and wounded 15 others.
Earlier that month, a senior police official was also killed in a similar attack, while in October at least seven police officials were killed in another roadside bombing.