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Death Toll in Pakistan Hotel Bombing Reaches 60

  • VOA News

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 inside.

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.

The blast came just hours after Pakistan's new president, Asif Ali Zardari, addressed parliament for the first time since taking office.


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