At least 60 dead & 300 injured in hotel blast in Islamabad

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21 Sep, 2008

At least 60 people were killed and scores others injured when an explosives laden vehicle was blown up at the entrance of a five star hotel here on Saturday.

Those killed include five women. 257 wounded, some of them critically were shifted to the local hospitals after the deadly explosion. The death toll is feared to rise further.

The powerful explosion caused fire in many parts of the hotel besides shattering the windowpanes of the buildings around the hotel.

According to details, a small vehicle broke through the security barrier outside the hotel before an explosives laden dumper truck was struck with the hotel causing a huge explosion.

This caused the gas pipelines to burst triggering fire which engulfed the entire building of the luxury hotel.

The explosion left a 20 feet wide and 25 feet deep crater on the ground.

According to police, 1000 kilograms of explosive material was used in the deadly explosion.

This hotel in Islamabad is a favorite place for foreigners to stay and gather, and it has previously been targeted by militants.

Ambulances rushed to the scene, where a fire also burned, smoke hovered and the carcasses of vehicles were scattered.

According to senior correspondent of Geo News, Hamid Mir, about 100 people are feared dead in the attack.

The blast left a vast crater some 20 feet deep and 30 feet wide in front of the main building where flames leapt from the windows and rescuers ferried a stream of bloodied bodies from the gutted building.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was hosting an Iftar dinner at the nearby Prime Minister's Secretariat. The event was attended by President Asif Ali Zardari and Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. There was no reports of anyone being injured at the Prime Minister's Secretariat.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, and its exact cause was unclear. But Pakistan, a U.S. ally in the war on terror, has faced a wave of militant violence in recent weeks following army-led offensives against insurgents in its border regions, though the capital has avoided most of the bloodshed.