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As Marriott Reopens, 34 Die in Blast In Pakistan

Sebastian Abbot
Associated Press [1]
Monday, Dec 29, 2008

A suicide bomber pretending to need help with his car killed 34 people in northwest Pakistan on Sunday while the target of another attack, the Marriott hotel in Islamabad, partially reopened three months after a brazen truck bombing there left 54 dead.

The luxury hotel was devastated by the September blast — blamed on a Pakistani militant group accused of killing U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002 — but renovations, a security overhaul and the addition of a giant, bombproof wall meant the hotel was ready to welcome guests again, the owner said.

“We have expressed our resolve that we will not bow before the enemies of Pakistan,” owner Saddaruddin Hashwani said.



The suicide attack Sunday, at a polling station close to the Swat Valley, occurred as concern grows that extremist violence will spike now that Pakistan is shifting troops away from the region toward India. The military has not confirmed the troop movements, but it has restricted personnel leave, and reports said thousands of soldiers were being redeployed from the northwest — where many al-Qaeda and Taliban extremists are based — to the eastern border with India amid tensions over attacks in Mumbai last month.

Full article here [1]