State Dept. Hesitates to Confirm Terrorists Who Claimed to Target Christians Targeted Christians

Lauretta Brown | March 28, 2016 | 4:24pm EDT
Font Size

People carry the coffin containing

the body of 11-year-old Sahil Pervez

who was killed in the Mar. 27 terrorist 

attack in Lahore, Pakistan. (AP) 

( – State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Monday that he did not have “the fidelity of information to confirm overtly” that the massive suicide bombing in Lahore, Pakistan on Sunday was specifically targeting Christians celebrating Easter.

Ahsanullah Ahsan, a spokesman for Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, the breakaway Taliban faction claiming responsibility for the attacks, told the Associated Press on Sunday that the suicide bomber “deliberately targeted the Christian community celebrating Easter.” He also said the attack was meant to protest Pakistan's military operation in the tribal regions.

At the State Department today, referencing the condemnatory statement made by the Department but which contained no reference of the targeting of Christians, AP reporter Matt Lee asked, “There’s been some commentary about why you guys didn’t mention either the Easter connection or the Christian connection in your condemnatory statements over the weekend and again today. Do you believe the claim of responsibility that Christians were targeted and are targets?”

“We have no indications that their claims of responsibility are false, though I can’t sit here and confirm it a hundred percent,” Kirby said. “Therefore I have no indications that their, the motivation that they claim was the reason is also false, but this is all going to be investigated by Pakistanis.” 

Kirby also said that his failure to mention that the attack was specifically targeted against Christians on Easter Sunday in the State Department’s condemnatory statement “was as much a fact, or as much an indication of the fact that it had just happened and we didn’t know that much about the attack at the outset.”

“Is that your understanding now, though?” said Lee. “Do you believe that it was?”

Kirby replied, “We have no reason to doubt the veracity of their claims that this was aimed at Christians on Easter Sunday. But again I’m not also in a position, I just, we don’t have the fidelity of information to actually, you know, confirm overtly that that was in fact the case.”

“Clearly, that certainly appears to have been the case and we have no reason to doubt their claims,” said Kirby. 

mrc merch