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State Department Finally Declares Group That Massacred Christians In Pakistan A Terror Group

REUTERS/Mohsin Raza.

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Jonah Bennett Contributor

The State Department Wednesday designated Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, the group that massacred Christians in Pakistan in March, a terror group.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the State Department declared Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, a designation that arrived five months after the group explicitly killed Christians in Lahore, Pakistan.

“As a result of these designations, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Abrini have any interest is blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Jamaat-ul-Ahrar,” the statement reads.

JuA was founded in August 2014 by a former leader of the group Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, which operates along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. JuA is known for targeting civilians and religious minorities.

The group’s most notable attack, which seized international attention, took place in late March of this year. At the Gulshan-e-Iqbal amusement park in Pakistan on Easter Sunday JuA killed more than 70 people and injured hundreds of others in a suicide attack, most of whom were Christians. Almost half of those killed were women and children.

The attack was the deadliest to hit Pakistan since late 2014. Following the assault, a spokesman for JuA stated, “The target was Christians.” Another spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, said the group intends to launch more “devastating” attacks on Christians.

One of JuA’s leaders, Omar Khalid al Khurasani, is pushing for the creation of a global caliphate, according to Long War Journal. Khurasani hopes  for the Pakistani Taliban to eventually gain access to nuclear weapons.

JuA also targeted Christians in March 2015 through suicide attacks on two churches, leaving 15 dead and many others wounded.

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