Wednesday, June 10, 2009

At least five dead in hotel bomb blast in Pakistan

At least five people were killed and 25 injured today when a huge bomb exploded at a luxury hotel in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

Gunmen stormed into the Pearl Continental Hotel in the north-western city just before "a big bomb went off", a police spokesman said.

The blast is the latest in a string of attacks in Pakistani cities in recent weeks that officials say are revenge for a military offensive against Taliban militants in the Swat Valley.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Local television showed a scene of pandemonium outside the hotel, with armed police rushing around and Pakistani men standing by looking stunned. One man held a bloodied rag to his head.

Several foreigners were seen walking out of the hotel with injuries.

A police official said it was a suicide attack.

The Pearl Continental, affectionately called the "PC" by Pakistanis, is relatively well-guarded and set far back from the main road, overlooking a golf course and a historic fort.

It is just over a mile from the city's airport.

Parking in front of the structure is heavily restricted, and to get to the front doors of the building, a car has to undergo security checks and travel around concrete and metal barriers.

The hotel is a favourite place for foreigners and elite Pakistanis to stay and socialise, making it a high-profile target for militants.

Last year, a massive bombing at Islamabad's Marriott Hotel killed more than 50 people and wounded dozens, rattling the nation.

Source : HotelsMag
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