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Pattaya Daily News

21 September 2008 :: 13:09:07 pm 29017

At Least [40] 60 Dead In Bomb Attack On Pakistani Hotel

ISLAMABAD: A massive blast, possibly caused by an explosives-packed truck, outside the Pakistan capital?s luxury Marriott hotel on Saturday night killed at least 60 people and wounded 150.
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Many parts of the hotel caught fire in the minutes after the explosion, with flames rising up from the building for hours afterwards. The impact of the explosion left a crater about 25 feet deep and 70 feet wide.

The blast destroyed the lower portions of the entire front length of the hotel. The fire that started in the levels above appeared to have started from flying bits of explosives from the vehicle or a short circuit due to the extensive destruction.

Army troops were deployed at the hotel for rescue operations. Geo television reported 60 killed. Some westerners were among the wounded. No foreigner was among the dead taken to hospitals.

The explosion came at 8 p.m., hours after President Asif Ali Zardari, in an address to Parliament, said, ?We must root out terrorism and extremism, wherever and whenever they rear their ugly head.?

Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who was visiting a hospital after the blast, told journalists that the National Assembly, where Mr. Zardari spoke, was the actual target of the attack. The hotel is located in the same high security ?red zone? as the National Assembly and other important government buildings where security was its highest ever for Mr. Zardari?s maiden speech to Parliament.

At the moment the blast shook the capital, the President, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani, Army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, other top brass and political dignitaries were attending an Iftaar reception at the Prime Minister?s House less than a kilometre from the hotel.

The hotel too was crowded with various Iftaar-associated receptions at the end of another day of fasting in the Ramzan month. According to a guard who was at the security barrier with a sniffer Labrador dog and was fortunate to survive the attack, a vehicle drove up to the main entrance of the hotel.

The driver got off and shouted to everyone around to flee ?within three minutes.? Many people standing around, including the guard, who narrated this account, took the warning and ran away and heard the explosion as they fled. The blast was heard through the length and breadth of the capital.

Another eyewitness said this vehicle was followed by a dumper truck that bumped against the security barrier and stopped. Its engine caught fire and within seconds, there was a deadly explosion from the truck.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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