Five dead in Pakistan hotel blast (Lead)

June 10th, 2009 - 1:10 am ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, June 9 (DPA) At least five people were killed and 25 injured when a huge explosion ripped through the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan’s restive North Western Frontier Province (NWFP), officials said.
The blast partially demolished the building, which is located near a military base and an important government building in a high-security zone.

“According to the information I have received so far five people have been killed and 25 are injured,” said the city’s top civilian administrator, Sahebzada Anees.

Geo TV reported a provincial minister and a member of parliament were among the injured.

Some foreign nationals were also believed to be inside the hotel when the blast occurred.

A reporter from Geo TV said one injured victim told him that he was a French national.

A relief worker said there were some injured foreign nationals inside the building. “They are not ready to trust us. The police will come and then they will be moved to the hospital.”

“I was at the mosque when the blast took place. There are many people lying in the mosque. There are also many people lying in the Marco Polo Hall,” an eyewitness told the news channel. The witness said shots were also heard before the explosion.

The Pakistani military is currently engaged in a massive anti-Taliban operation in three districts of the NWFP that entered its 45th day Tuesday. The military says that some 1,350 Taliban have so far been killed in the operations, with the security forces suffering about 110 casualties.

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