Savages...American among 5 killed in Pakistan blast
02 Mar 2006 10:54:12 GMT
Political activists burn a U.S. flag during a rally in Multan, Pakistan March 2, 2006. A car bomb outside the U.S. consulate in Karachi killed an American and at least four other people on Thursday, but Bush said " terrorists and killers" would not stop his scheduled visit to Pakistan.
(Adds police suspects suicide bomber behind blast)
By Faisal Aziz
KARACHI, March 2 (Reuters) - A suspected suicide car bomb attack outside the U.S. consulate in Karachi killed an American and at least four other people on Thursday, but President George W. Bush said "terrorists" would not stop his visit to Pakistan.
The blast came less than 48 hours before Bush was due to hold talks in Pakistan on Saturday, though he is not expected to visit the southern city of Karachi during his short visit.
"According to our initial investigations, it was a suicide attack. The attacker was probably waiting in the parking area, and rammed his car into the vehicle carrying U.S. consulate staff," said a senior police investigator, requesting anonymity.
Addressing a news conference in New Delhi just hours after the blasts, Bush said he wouldn't change his plan to go to Pakistan at the end of his three-day visit to India. This is Bush's first visit to south Asia.
"I've been briefed on the bombings. We have lost at least one U.S. citizen in the bombing, a foreign service officer," Bush told reporters in the Indian capital.
"Terrorists and killers are not going to prevent me from going to Pakistan."
A Pakistani employee of the consulate was also killed, according to a spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in Islamabad.
Police confirmed that five people were killed in the explosion, which also wounded at least 35, including three security guards at the main entrance to the consulate not far from where the car bomb exploded on a road at the rear of the Marriott Hotel used for parking.
The blast created a crater one metre (yard) deep and four metres wide in the middle of the road.
Jehangir Mirza, police chief for Sindh province estimated that the bomb contained not less than 15 kg (33 lbs) of explosives. Windows of the hotel and of buildings for hundreds of metres around were shattered.
"I was standing at my post when a blast occurred and some flying thing hit me," Mohammad Ilyas, a security guard posted outside the consulate, told Reuters.
"Later I fell unconscious. My two colleagues were also wounded," he said, nursing cuts on his stomach.
A car bomb blast outside the consulate in 2002 killed 12 Pakistanis.
A Reuters reporter saw wounded being carried away by ambulance, including a child who was identified as a Moroccan. Of the wounded, three were in critical condition, doctors said.
Bush is provisionally scheduled to fly to Pakistan late on Friday, and his official programme in Islamabad runs through Saturday, a Pakistani official who requested anonymity said. His original schedule had him going to Pakistan early on Saturday.
His visit to Pakistan is seen by analysts as a gesture of support for President Pervez Musharraf, an important ally in the U.S.-led war on terrorism.
Islamist opposition parties have organised a national day of protest on Friday, the Muslim day of prayer, against cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad published in Europe and elsewhere.
Although the cartoons, deemed blasphemous, originated in Denmark, demonstrations over the past few weeks have morphed into expressions of anti-U.S. sentiment and anger with Musharraf's government and his alliance with the United States.
Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told private ARYONE Television "some gloved hands are behind the blast who want to give a message and create problems" ahead of Bush's visit.
"This visit will be successful," the minister declared.
Pakistani security forces were expected to virtually cordon off the small capital of Islamabad during his time there.
Musharraf's domestic critics frequently rail against the war on terrorism, partly because Pakistani territory sometimes has been violated by U.S. forces and Pakistanis have been killed.
A U.S. airstrike in January in the Bajaur tribal agency killed 18 people, angering Pashtun tribes, though Musharraf said later he believed some foreign militants were among those killed.
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the architect of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, is believed to be hiding in tribal lands near the border with Afghanistan or in the rugged North West Frontier Province.
I saw that. i said to myself wtf?! The_Beer_Slayer