Dec. 17 (UPI) -- At least nine people were killed and dozens more injured when a pair of suicide bombers attacked a church in Pakistan on Sunday.
Sarfaraz Bugti, the interior minister of Balochistan province, said two suicide bombers targeted the Methodist church in Quetta, but only one managed to detonate his vest. The second bomber was shot dead by police.
"God Forbid, if the terrorists had succeeded in their plans more than 400 precious lives would have been at stake," Bugti wrote on Twitter.
Bugti said law enforcement agencies took about 16 minutes to complete their operation.
More than 30 people were injured in the attack. City officials declared an emergency at local hospitals and other medical institutions in the provincial capital.
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa condemned the attack, while praising law enforcement for their quick response.
"Quetta church attack targeting our brotherly Christian Pakistanis is an attempt to cloud Christmas celebrations [and] create religious cleavages," he said. "Effective response by LEAs is commendable. We stay united and steadfast to respond against such heinous attempts."
Police and Frontier Corps began a search operation around the site of the attack and a bomb disposal team was also on standby at the scene.