Islamic Militants Target Kenyan, Somali Christians

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Police officials have reported that a grenade attack on a church in eastern Kenya left two people dead, including an 8-year-old girl.

The assailants hurled the explosive into Pentecostal Church in Garissa, located near the Somali border.

"One of the dead is a member of the choir, and the other is the son of the church elder," said Ibrahim Makunyi, head pastor at the church.

Kenyan police chief Leo Nyongesa also said a woman and her two grandchildren were injured the blast.

Police say they aren't ruling out the al Qaeda-linked Islamist group al-Shabab, which controls parts of Somalia, as the culprit.

Al-Shabab has promised retaliation for Kenyan military activity in their territory.

In a separate incident, six Muslim men beat a Somali Christian refugee living in Kenya.

The men beat 25-year-old Hassan with a metal bar and cut his hands with a knife because they believed he left Islam to become a Christian. Hassan's surname was withheld for his protection.

"When I reached the scene of the attack, my son was lying in a pool of blood," his mother told Compass Direct News.

"I wailed and did not know what happened to me," she recalled. "I only gained consciousness after sometime, when so many people, including the police, had arrived at the scene. The attackers had covered my son all over with dirt."

Hassan survived the assault and said his faith remains strong.

"In spite of what happened, I don't feel I'm losing my Christian faith," he said. "I still need to fight for the Christian faith, in spite of what I'm feeling now."

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