Sunday, Sept 21, 2008
A suicide bomber detonated a truck packed with explosives at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad on Saturday, killing at least 60 people in a brazen attack in the heart of the Pakistan capital.
Around 200 people were wounded, some critically, and there were fears more dead would be found in the fiery wreckage of the hotel, a popular gathering place for politicians, foreigners and the Pakistan elite.
Officials said they were worried the building, engulfed in flame after the blast ruptured a gas pipeline, would collapse. A security official said many people leapt to their deaths from upper floors rather than be burnt alive.
The bombing came shortly after new President Asif Ali Zardari, who faces a struggle to rein in Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, delivered his inaugural address to parliament only a few hundred metres away.
It was one of the deadliest attacks in an increasingly bloody campaign by militants in Pakistan, a vital ally in the US-led “war on terror,” and presented Zardari with a major challenge just days after he took office.
This article was posted: Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 4:42 am