Saturday, September 20, 2008

Over 40 dead in Pakistan blast

At least 40 people have died in a deadly blast in Pakistan. The attack struck the Marriott Hotel in the capital Islamabad at 19:30 local time [12:30 GMT] according to CNN’s website, though TV news broadcasts have said the blast occurred at 20:15 [13:15 GMT]. More than a tonne of explosives is believed to have been used by a suicide bomber. A massive crater was left and the explosion also caused a natural gas explosion. There are conflicting numbers of people both killed and injured but many reports say two hundred people were injured. Several foreign nationals are amongst the dead according to reports. One American has died and four British nationals are believed to be amongst the injured [BBC]. The hotel is situated close to the Prime Minister’s home and parliament building and has been the target of several attacks in the past [CNN / BBC / Sky News / al Jazeera].
Today’s blast came shortly after the newly elected Pakistani President had addressed parliament. During his speech before the assembly, President Asif Ali Zardari declared, “I have a dream for Pakistan”. But like his predecessor he is already experiencing a nightmare as extremism attempts to tear the fragile country apart. Following the attack President Zardarwi released a statement in which he said, “Terrorism is a cancer & we will eliminate it”. President George W Bush also spoke on the subject saying, “I strongly condemn the attack” and vowed to “assist Pakistan in defeating terrorism”.

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