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Pakistan's security forces on high alert after attack
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Churchgoers wounded in a grenade attack on their Protestant congregation prayed from their hospital beds Monday for those who engineered the assault that killed five people.
Pakistani security forces pledged to track down Islamic militants suspected in Sunday's attack on a church in a guarded diplomatic quarter about 400 yards from the U.S. Embassy compound. No arrests have been made.
Michael Abel, one of 16 Christian ministers from the nearby city of Rawalpindi, offered prayers with survivors based on the biblical account of Jesus Christ's final moments on the cross when he forgave his crucifiers.
"They're seriously wrong if they think this can achieve their ends," Abel said of the attackers.
President Bush said he was outraged by the killings. "I strongly condemn them as acts of murder that cannot be tolerated by any person of conscience nor justified by any cause," he said in a statement.
Bush spoke by telephone with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on Monday. Musharraf "expressed his sympathies for the loss of life and injuries" that Americans sustained, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said.
Islamic militants have stepped up attacks in retaliation for the U.S.-led war on terrorism and Musharraf's crackdown on extremism.
The dead included Americans Barbara Green and her 17-year-old daughter Kristen Wormsley. Barbara Green worked in the U.S. Embassy administration section and her husband Milton Green works in the computer division.
Dozens of churchgoers recovering from shrapnel wounds and shattered bones sought Monday to come to terms with the trauma.
"I have been thinking all the time about these scenes from yesterday," said Pakistani Georgina Tabassum, 38, as she gingerly touched shrapnel wounds on her cheeks. "Who was this that wanted to kill all these people from different nations?"
Christians make up a tiny fraction of Pakistan's 147 million people of whom more than 95 percent are Muslims.
The last attack against Pakistani Christians occurred in Punjab province in October, when gunmen killed 15 worshippers and a Muslim guard.
Pakistani officials noted there are scores of Christian churches in the country that have not been attacked and the one in Islamabad where the assault took place was closely associated with the foreign community.