Bush condemns terror attack in Pakistan (Lead)

September 21st, 2008 - 6:33 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 21 (DPA) US President George W. Bush Saturday condemned the terrorist bombing at a hotel in Islambad that killed more than 60 people and injured hundreds more.”This bombing, the latest in a series of terrorist attacks, is part of a continuing assault on the people of Pakistan. This attack is a reminder of the ongoing threat faced by Pakistan, the United States, and all those who stand against violent extremism,” Bush said in a statement.

“We will assist Pakistan in confronting this threat and bringing the perpetrators to justice,” he added. “We will fully support the democratically-elected government of Pakistan and the Pakistani people as they face enormous challenges economically as well as from terrorism.”

Bush said one American was among the dead, which Aaj news channel had earlier reported included seven foreigners in addition to numerous Pakistanis.

Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain also condemned the attack and pledged to continue working with Islamabad to fight terrorism.

Condemning the attack, US National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johnroe said: “This is a reminder of the threat we all face. The US will stand with Pakistan’s democratically elected government as they confront this challenge.”

A suicide bomber drove a truck packed with explosives into the Marriott Hotel in the heart of the Pakistani capital Saturday evening, killing at least 62 people including foreigners and setting ablaze one of the best known hubs of the country’s elite.

The devastating attack, one of the worst even by the standards of increasingly lawless Pakistan, took place just a kilometre from Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s house where President Asif Ali Zardari, army chief General Ashfar Parvez Kayani and over 300 MPs were at an Iftar dinner.

Authorities said at least 120 people were injured, many suffering extensive burns, in the terror strike that sent orange flames and thick smoke billowing out of the hotel.

And what was a bloody disaster turned worse as gas lines running to the hotel’s kitchen exploded and a huge ball of fire quickly enveloped the hotel.

It is feared that the hotel, a landmark and a preferred destination for diplomats and businessmen, could simply collapse.

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