Peshawar police search for clues in bombed hotel debris

June 10th, 2009 - 5:35 pm ICT by ANI  

Peshawar, June 10 (ANI): Police and rescue workers have begun scouring the wreckage of the deadly hotel that was damaged by a bomb explosion late on Tuesday night blast for clues.

The search is being undertaken amidst tight security.

At least seven people were killed. A U.N. official said two U.N. workers, a Russian man and Fillipino woman, were among those killed at the Pearl Continental Hotel, which is popular with VIPs and foreigners.

Peshawar’s Police Chief Sifwat Ghayyur, was quoted by a foreign news agency as saying that four bodies had been recovered so far, though other reports said the death toll was 16.

Senior police official Abdul Gafoor Afridi said 64 people were wounded. The hotel manager was among those missing.

Militants had shot their way into the hotel forecourt and exploded a truck bomb in front of the lobby, evoking nightmarish memories of the attack on the Marriott hotel in Islamabad last September that killed 55 people.

News channels ran closed circuit television camera footage from the checkpoint at the hotel entrance on the main road.

It showed a cyclist brushing aside a security guard, who then returned to his cabin. As the cyclist pedaled through, a retractable metal barrier in the driveway was lowered, and a saloon car pulled into the entrance.

There appeared to be shots fired, before the car sped over the lowered barrier towards the hotel, swiftly followed by a small truck. Another guard ran for cover as shots were fired.

The militants then exploded a truck bomb in the front of the lobby in the hotel forecourt.

Police said the bomb contained 500 kg (1,100 lb) of explosives, a similar size to the bomb at the Marriott.

The mangled truck used in the attack could be seen several feet away from the crater caused by the explosion.

There was no claim of responsibility. (ANI)

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