Aftermath of the attack outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad. Click to view more images from Reuters.
A bombing near the Danish embassy in a secured region of Pakistan’s capital city of Islamabad killed eight people and wounded moor than 30, some seriously. No group has taken credit for the attack, but Pakistani intelligence suspects an al Qaeda affiliate group conducted the strike.
The bombing occurred in the F-6 II region in what is known as Islamabad’s Red Zone, a high security area that houses foreign embassies and the office of the United Nations Development Program. The bomber appears to have driven a car with diplomatic license plates through security, and parked it in a parking lot next to the Danish embassy. The car bomb was then either detonated remotely or by timer.
The car bomb was believed to have contained about 65 pounds of explosives. The blast left a crater about four feet deep and nine feet wide, and damaged the wall of the Danish embassy as well as the offices of the United Nations Development Program.
All of those reported killed appear to be Pakistanis, however one report indicated a foreign national may have also been killed in the blast.
While no terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack, Pakistani intelligence believes Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, an al Qaeda and Taliban linked group, was behind the attack. Lashkar-i-Jhangvi is a splinter group of the Sipah-e-Sahaba (the Army of Mohamed’s companions), a radical Deobandi group that attacks the Shia minority in Pakistan. The US designated Lashkar-i-Jhangvi a Foreign Terrorist Organization in January 2003, while Pakistan banned the outfit in August 2001, just prior to the September 11 attacks on the US.
Lashkar-i-Jhangvi has been behind several high-profile attacks against foreigners in Pakistan. The groups was behind the kidnapping and brutal murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2003, and attack on a Pakistani Navy bus that killed 11 French technicians and three Pakistanis and a car bomb attack on the American consulate that killed 12 Pakistanis in 2002.
Today’s attack is the first major strike inside Islamabad since March 15, when one civilian was killed and 15 wounded in a bombing at an Italian restaurant known to be frequented by foreigners. Twelve foreigners were wounded in the bombing.
Four days prior, a dual suicide attack in Lahore targeted a building housing Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency and another building that served as the headquarters of an advertising agency. The bombing in Lahore killed 28 Pakistanis and wounded more than 160. US intelligence officers were working at the Federal Investigation Agency building at the time of the attack.
On Feb. 25, a suicide bomber killed the Pakistani Army’s surgeon general in the military garrison city of Rawalpindi. Seven others were killed in the attack and 20 were wounded after a Taliban suicide bomber rammed into Lieutenant General Mushtaq Ahmed Baig’s staff car. Mushtaq is the senior-most general killed in Pakistan since Sept. 11, 2001.
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