Several injured in suicide bomb blast near police lane, Islamabad

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

A suicide car bomber partly demolished an Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) building in the Pakistani capital Islamabad. The bomb blast rocked I-11 and its neighboring sectors, injuring seventeen people. The number of dead is not certain, with numbers ranging from none to eight.

"Everybody started running away from where the sound came," said eyewitness Amanat Khan while describing the event. "I saw black smoke rising and the sound of a building crashing down". The explosion was strong enough to shatter nearby windows.

Police quickly closed off the area and declared an emergency in all hospitals. Those injured were taken to the nearby PIMS and Holy Family hospitals.

The suicide bomber had convinced guards he was making a delivery of candy before taking his life and destroying much of the building. The attack was only six miles from the Pakistani Parliament, where intelligence and military chiefs were briefing lawmakers on the campaign against terrorism.

Investigators suspect the involvement of a Bajaur-based militant group, Jaish-e-Islami Pakistan (JIP), whose commander was recently injured after an attack on its headquarters. The suicide bomber had entered the office and placed a bag of 'sweets' on a desk, with a note threatening continued attacks if Pakistan continued to aid the US.

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari both strongly condemned the suicide attack.