Related News

Home » World

Suicide bombers kill 11 at Pakistan luxury hotel

INVESTIGATORS searched a wrecked luxury hotel in northwestern Pakistan for evidence yesterday after a brazen suicide bombing killed at least 11 people, including aid workers, in what the UN condemned as a "heinous terrorist attack."

The three attackers also died.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the late Tuesday's bombing of the Peshawar Pearl Continental, but the blast followed Taliban threats to carry out major attacks in large cities to avenge an army offensive against insurgents in the nearby Swat Valley.

At least three suicide attackers shot their way past guards and set off the explosion outside the hotel, a favorite spot for foreigners and well-off Pakistanis and a site that the US was considering for its consulate.

The attack reduced a section of the hotel to concrete rubble and twisted steel and left a huge crater in a parking lot. Senior police official Safwat Ghayur said counterterrorism experts, police and intelligence agents were combing the rubble for clues yesterday.

The Pearl Continental is the ritziest hotel in the rugged frontier city of 2.2 million.

Security camera footage showed the attackers in two vehicles: a white sedan and a small truck. The vehicles pulled up to a guard post outside the hotel, with the car in front. A puff of smoke appeared near the car window. A guard collapsed, apparently shot. The vehicles moved into the hotel compound. A flash and eruption of dust followed seconds later.

The truck was carrying more than half a ton of explosives, police estimated.

The chaotic scene echoed a bombing last year at Islamabad's Marriott Hotel that killed more than 50 people. Both hotels were favored places for foreigners and elite Pakistanis to stay and socialize, making them high-profile targets for militants despite tight security.

Both hotels are owned by Sadruddin Hashwani, who vowed to rebuild quickly and claimed the government was partly to blame for the attack by not providing better security.

"This is (the) government's failure," Hashwani told Geo TV, claiming that government ministers get much better security escorts than the high-profile Pearl. "Government needs to think seriously who they have to give security - to foreigners or the ministers. Half of the hotel's occupants were foreigners."

North West Frontier Province Senior Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour denied the government was at fault and said closed-circuit TV footage showed the hotel had removed some security barriers.

"I do not buy that there was any security lapse. There was enough security arrangements made by the government," Bilour said. "I would say that this was a failure on part of the hotel management's security. We are at war. Terrorists are out to cause big losses."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend