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Attack In Northwest Pakistan Kills One Christian Priest, Leaves Another Injured

Men carry the body of William Siraj, a priest who was killed by unknown assailants in Peshawar on January 30.

One priest from a Christian church in northwest Pakistan has been killed and another injured after their car was ambushed by unknown militants in the capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province on January 30.

Police and hospital officials said William Siraj died and Patrick Naeem was in stable condition after the attack on their vehicle near the Gulbahar police station in Peshawar.

Siraj serves a parish in Peshawar.

An investigation is under way to find the attackers.

The U.S. State Department put Muslim-majority Pakistan on its list of "countries of particular concern" for religious freedom violations in 2019 in an assessment rejected by Islamabad.

Christians make up 1.27 percent of Pakistan’s population of 208 million, according to the 2017 census.

The attack on the priests comes two weeks after a Muslim religious scholar, Sheikh Abdul Hamid, was shot dead in the same city.

Two days later, at least three policemen were injured in a hand-grenade attack in Peshawar.

No one claimed responsibility for either attack.

But the banned Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) group, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, has stepped up attacks since refusing in December to extend a monthlong cease-fire with Islamabad amid peace talks.