Suicide car bombing kills 33 in Pakistan

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 23:45

Islamabad: A suicide bomber rammed his
explosives-laden car into the home of a senior PML-N leader in
Pakistan`s Punjab province on Tuesday, killing 33 people and
injuring 90 others, including relatives of the politician.

The attack targeted the home of veteran PML-N leader
Zulfiqar Khosa and a nearby market in Dera Ghazi Khan town,
Deputy Inspector General of Police Mubarak Ali Athar said.
Local Commissioner Hasan Iqbal said witnesses had seen a
youth driving the car into the gate of Khosa`s home.

Hospital officials said 33 people were killed, including
five women and two children.

Ninety others, including two relatives of Khosa, were
injured in the blast, which flattened part of the politician`s
home and eight to 10 shops.

Two survivors and three bodies were pulled out of the
rubble at the market several hours after the explosion that
occurred at about 2.45 pm.

"Apparently the explosives were loaded in a car (which)
hit the gate of my residence in Dera Ghazi Khan," Khosa, who
was in a village near Islamabad at the time of the attack,
told reporters.

He said a mosque and several shops near his home were
destroyed.

Zulfiqar Khosa`s son Dost Muhammad Khosa, a minister in
Punjab province, said two of his cousins were injured.

Dost Muhammad described the bombing as a "direct attack
on his family" while his father said the attack came "out of
the blue" as he had not received threats from anyone.

Commissioner Hasan Iqbal said investigators had found
body parts, including a hand and a leg, along with pieces of
the car used in the attack. This, he said, pointed to the
involvement of a suicide attacker.
The explosion created a 15-feet deep and 30-feet wide
crater and blew out the facades of several shops and
residential buildings.

Police officials said about 1,000 kg of explosives was
used in the attack. The blast and debris from buildings
damaged several vehicles in the market. Authorities brought in
heavy machinery to remove the rubble.

Mobile phone footage aired on television showed
panic-stricken people running helter-skelter moments after the
blast as a plume of smoke rose into the sky.

DIG Athar said additional policemen had been brought in
to tighten security in Dera Ghazi Khan town.

Today`s blast was the latest in a series of suicide
attacks and bombings across Pakistan that have killed over 500
people since October, when the army launched an offensive
against the Taliban in South Waziristan tribal region.

However, it was the first attack targeting a senior
leader of the Opposition PML-N.

The recent attacks have been blamed on the Taliban, who
are retaliating against the military operation in the tribal
belt. In the past, Dera Ghazi Khan has also witnessed
sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia groups.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani condemned the attack in Dera Ghazi Khan, saying such
cowardly acts would not deter the government`s resolve to
fight terrorism.

Gilani said action against terrorists will continue till
their complete elimination.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 23:45

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