A suicide bomber has detonated a truck packed with explosives outside the
Marriott Hotel in Pakistan's capital, killing at least 60 people and wounding
more than 250 others.
Police say the blast in Islamabad late Saturday
flattened the hotel's main gate, devastated the lobby and rocked buildings
several kilometers away.
The hotel was engulfed in flames after the
blast ruptured a gas pipeline. Authorities warn the building could collapse.
They expect the death toll to rise, as many people were thought to be trapped
Police estimate about one thousand kilograms of explosives were
used in the bomb, which carved out a crater 15 meters wide.
No one has
claimed responsibility for the attack. But the head of Pakistan's interior
ministry (Rehman Malik) said authorities had received intelligence that
an attack might take place near parliament.
Pakistan's president and prime minister, who were dining
nearby at the prime minister's home, condemned the attack, saying it will not
deter the country's fight against terrorism.
The United States and
Britain also denounced the attack, saying they will stand with Pakistan's
democratically elected government as it confronts terrorism.
came just hours after Pakistan's new president, Asif Ali Zardari, addressed
parliament for the first time since taking office.