Asma Mirza and Adil Najam
(New videos and pictures added).
At aftaar time, Marriott Hotel in Islamabad was attacked by an explosive truck. Reportedly it has totally destroyed the hotel. This was the second bomb blast at the hotel in less than a year, adds to the feeling that Islamabad is now a major target of these dastardly killers (here, here, here). The pictures (from BBC) tell part of the story. But only a part.
One should note that this was the biggest of but just one of three suicide bomb blasts in Pakistan. The other two were in the tribal areas of Pakistan where Pakistan military was targeted.
Here is an incomplete list of only the ‘major’ suicide attacks on Pakistan this year (from The News):
More than 1,200 people have been killed in attacks, most of them suicide bombings blasts, in the past year. Here is a list of major attacks since the start of 2008:
January 10: Sixteen police and four civilians killed in a suicide bomb attack on police outside the high court in the city of Lahore.
January 14: Bomb kills 10 people at a crowded street market in Karachi.
February 9: Suicide bomber kills 25 people at opposition election rally in the northwestern town of Charsadda.
February 16: Suicide car bomber strikes a rally by party of slain former premier Benazir Bhutto in the northwestern tribal town of Parachinar, killing 37.
February 22: Roadside bomb hits wedding party in northern Swat, killing at least 14 people.
February 25: Suicide bomber kills army surgeon general Lieutenant General Mushtaq Baig and seven other people in Rawalpindi.
February 29: A suicide bomber kills 44 people in Mingora, the main town in the troubled Swat valley, during the funeral of three policemen killed by a roadside bomb earlier in the day.
March 2: Suicide bomber kills 43 at a meeting of anti-militant tribal elders in the northwestern district of Darra Adam Khel.
March 4: Two suicide bombers attack Pakistan Naval War College in Lahore, killing five people and wounding 19.
March 10: Suicide attackers detonate two huge truck bombs in Lahore, killing 26 people and partly demolishing the Federal Investigation Agency building in the city.
March 15: Bomb blast at Italian restaurant in Islamabad kills a Turkish woman and wounds 10 others, including four agents from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
May 19: Suicide bomber kills 13 at an army bakery in the northwestern town of Mardan.
July 2: Suicide car bomb outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad kills eight people.
July 6: Suicide bomber kills 15 people in an attack on police in Islamabad during a rally to mark the anniversary of an army raid on the radical Red Mosque.
August 12: Roadside bomb rips through Pakistan air force bus in Peshawar, killing 13.
August 19: Suicide bomber kills 23 people at a hospital in northwestern town of Dera Ismail Khan.
August 21: Twin suicide attacks kill at least 57 people outside Pakistan’s main arms factory in Wah, near Islamabad.
August 28: A bomb attack targeting policemen kill 10 people in the northwest garrison town of Bannu near the Afghan border.
September 3: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani escapes an apparent assassination attempt when two shots hit his motorcade, just three days before the country’s presidential election.
September 6: Suicide bomber kills 33 people at a security checkpoint near Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province.
September 11: Suspected militants hurl grenades and fire into a mosque in Peshawar killing at least 20 worshippers.
September 20: A suspected suicide attack outside the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad killing at least 40 people, with more feared trapped inside the building.
According to police sources, the attacking truck was carrying 1000 KG (1 Ton) of explosives. Causing massive damage and causalities. Supposedly F-5 is one of the most secure area of Islamabad. 40+ killed in this havoc and many injured.The security was even tighter today than usual because the new President, Asif Ali Zardari, was making his first address to the parliament. Some wonder how related this was to what he had to say there:
The ones killed include the drivers who were waiting outside in parking lot and the large number of security guards. Also note, just next to Marriott there is a bus stop as well and a queue of taxis wait there. Emergency declared in all hospitals.Gas pipelines was exploded in the process causing more damage. Building nearby such as Balochistan House, Gulshan e Jinnah (living apartments for federal govt. employees) badly affected as well.
According to the news analysts as seen reporting on TV, it can be one of the biggest explosion seen in Pakistan’s history. Analyst Najam Sethi aptly said, “This is 9/11 of Pakistan“.