Five dead in attack in Pakistan

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Thursday, March 2, 2006

Two explosions near a US consulate in Karachi, Pakistan killed five and wounded more than fifty early Thursday morning. The explosions come just prior to United States President George W. Bush's scheduled visit to the country. According to Forbes report on the incident, Pakistani officials speculated that the attack was timed to coincide with Bush's visit.

According to police, a suicide bomber apparently hit the vehicle of a United States diplomat, detonating one of the explosions. It is not clear whether a subsequent explosion was another bomb or a vehicle explosion triggered by the initial blast.

The Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reports that a hospital in the region has confirmed at least five persons were killed in the attacks, and over fifty more were injured, including a young Moroccan girl. According to the Associated Press, among the dead was a United States diplomat, a Pakistani official who worked at the consulate, a security guard for the consulate, and an unidentified woman. The driver of the car bomb is also presumed dead.

During a press conference in New Delhi, India, President Bush stated he would still travel to Pakistan despite the explosions, saying that: "Terrorists and killers are not going to prevent me from going to Pakistan. My trip to Pakistan is an important trip. It's important to talk with President Musharraf about continuing our fight against terrorists." Bush also expressed his condolences to the individuals lost in the attack during the conference.

The Pakistani news source GEO states that the first explosion occurred at 9:05 local time (0505 UTC), with the second explosion occurring minutes afterwards. The explosions occurred at the parking lot of the Marriott Hotel in Karachi, about 60 feet (18 meters) from the consulate gate. Damage to the building as well as over ten nearby vehicles was also reported.

The Associated Press reports that the same consulate has been targeted twice in the recent past: an attack in 2002 left 14 Pakistanis dead, and in 2004 police defused a time bomb before it was set to detonate.