One killed, 11 wounded in Islamabad restaurant blast

March 16th, 2008 - 2:58 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
Islamabad, March 16 (DPA) An explosion at an Italian restaurant in Islamabad Saturday night killed a Turkish woman and wounded 11 other people, the police said. The wounded included eight foreigners and three Pakistanis, Islamabad Police Chief Shahid Nadeem Baloch told reporters.

Interior secretary Kamal Shah told reporters the woman killed was Turkish and she worked for a local non-governmental organisation. He added it was not a suicide attack, but a blast from a charge apparently planted outside the restaurant.

A spokesman for Polyclinic Hospital said the wounded included five Americans, one Japanese, one Canadian, and one British citizen.

Diplomats were also among the injured, local media reported. They also reported one of the injured was Chinese and was taken to a local hospital.

The blast was at the Luna Caprese restaurant, which is frequented by foreigners and has seating outside, according to reporters at the scene.

The restaurant, which is next to a mosque, is one of few that serve alcohol in Islamabad

Fakhar Rehman, a reporter with local Aaj TV, said he was across the street from the restaurant at the time. “I saw many foreigners coming out with their heads and hands bleeding. It was devastating,” he said.

The wounded include a Pakistani couple who were at the restaurant, and a waiter.

Tariq Fazal Chaundhry, a member of parliament, arrived soon after the blast.

“This is an act of cowardice. I don’t think it was directly aimed at foreigners, I have been there twice myself and many Pakistanis go there,” he said.

President Pervez Musharraf condemned the blast and said it cannot break the government’s resolve to fight terrorism, his spokesman told reporters.

Saturday’s blast was a bomb, but the most recent blasts have been carried out by suicide bombers.

Pakistan has suffered more than 60 suicide attacks in the past 15 months that have killed more than 1,000 people.

The most recent attacks have been in Lahore, but overall most of the attacks have occurred in the volatile tribal areas of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Pakistan’s tribal areas are safe-havens for Al Qaeda militants and Taliban fighters who have launched cross-border attacks on international forces into Afghanistan.

However, the militants have turned inward and launched regular attacks against Pakistani security forces and rival tribes.

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