Authorities probing into truck load of steel boxes unloaded into hotel in secret by marines
Wednesday, Sept 24, 2008
Pakistani authorities investigating last Saturday’s huge bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad are looking into evidence that US marines were occupying two floors just days prior to the blast and were witnessed unloading a truckload of steel cases inside.
“The authorities want to ascertain if it was a routine exercise or part of some special mission that does not have the approval of the government of Pakistan,” Pakistan’s largest newspaper The News reported.
The reports of the mysterious activity first surfaced in the Pakistani media on Sunday.
According to the accounts, several witnesses, including Pakistani government officials, described seeing a US embassy truckload of steel boxes unloaded while all entrances to and from the hotel were locked down at around midnight on the 16th September.
The cases were not taken through security scanners in the hotel’s lobby, but were shifted directly to the fourth and fifth floors, the same floors that fire broke out on after the truck bombing on Saturday.
“Already, the government has got information that several rooms on the fourth floor of the Marriott were in permanent use of the US authorities. Three of these rooms were said to be inter-connected and contained some intelligence equipment and other material allegedly used for espionage,” The News also reported.
The reports have also been picked up in the press in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
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A US embassy statement said that the marines were a routine team of support personnel that often precede and/or accompany certain US government officials, and that the cases contained communication equipment.
Further rumours that several senior officers of the CIA were staying at the hotel at the time of the attack were also strenuously denied by the US embassy statement as “inaccurate, irresponsible, baseless and completely without any foundation whatsoever.”
Meanwhile new claims have surfaced linking the bombing to an Islamic fundamentalist group based in Iran.
In our leading article earlier this week which has since been picked up by the Pakistan Daily, we detailed how Pakistan’s new leadership were due to dine at the hotel, but changed the venue at the last minute, according to a senior government official.
This raises the question, whether it be “Al Qaeda”, the Taliban or some other group of anti-American “terrorists”, why would they want to decapitate the new anti-US administration of Pakistan?
This article was posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 10:45 am