Seven foreigners among 62 killed in Islamabad blast

September 21st, 2008 - 1:04 am ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Sep 20 (IANS) Seven foreigners were among 62 people killed in a massive suicide bombing that ripped through the Marriott Hotel in the Pakistani capital Saturday, a media report said.The blast was so powerful that it created a 20-foot deep crater at the entrance of the building. Over 120 people, including diplomats, were injured in the blast, eyewitnesses and officials said.

The Aaj news channel reported that seven foreigners were among the dead, while a medical officer at Islamabad’s Polyclinic said three injured US and Danish diplomats were being treated there.

A truck loaded with half-a-ton of explosives struck at the entrance of the hotel, a security official said.

Officials said the toll could rise drastically as many of the injured are in critical condition.

Four of the five stories of the hotel caught fire after the blast, which was so ear-shattering that it was heard 15 kilometres away.

People were trapped in the gutted building and fire brigade vehicles were trying to extinguish the blaze.

“Two children were seen crying for help from a widow in the top floor. But minutes later, before the fire brigade could start working, smoke and fire spread everywhere. Those children can not be sighted any more,” a reporter for the Dawn News Channel said.

The owner of the hotel, Hashwani, said many of the guests had been evacuated through the rear entrance but some were still trapped inside.

The luxury hotel is located in a high security zone, close to the official residences of Pakistan’s president and prime minister.

No one has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

Earlier in the day, Zardari vowed before parliament to “root out terrorism and extremism”.

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