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Pakistani Interior Minister Deplores Lahore Church Attacks

Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has deplored as an "inhumane act of terrorism" the suicide attacks on two Christian churches in the eastern city of Lahore.

Seventeen people were killed and at least 70 wounded when Pakistani Taliban bombers detonated suicide vests outside the two churches on March 15.

Khan said it reflected the militants' "frustration" in the face of a stepped-up military operation against them.

Last June, Pakistan launched a major operation to rout militants from their strongholds.

"We have shrunk the space for them to operate," Khan said on March 16.

Earlier on March 16, Pakistani police fired tear gas after Christian protesters clashed with police in Lahore.

After the attacks, angry Christian mobs burned two people to death whom they suspected of being involved in the bombings.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on March 16 expressed "grave concern" that the Pakistani Taliban was vowing to carry out more such acts.

Based on reporting by Radio Pakistan and AP