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Pakistani Terrorists Replace Marriott Hotel Lobby With 60-Foot Crater

In an attack believed to be perpetrated by Al-Qaeda, Islamabad's Marriott Hotel was gutted by a suicide bomber killing at least 40 people and injuring over 200 others, including 2 Americans. Saturday's attack was timed to occur as Muslims were packed into the hotel restaurants, breaking fast for Ramadan.

This also marks the second attack on Western targets in a week, after last week's attack on the U.S. embassy in Yemen. Here's one of the
early reports:
A massive truck bomb destroyed much of Islamabad’s most popular hotel this evening, killing at least 40 people, wounding at least 100 and leaving a crater more than 25 feet deep. Officials feared the death toll would increase by dozens as rescue teams continue work at the scene.

At approximately 8 p.m. local time, an apparent suicide bomber blew himself up as his vehicle was being checked at the security gate of the luxury Marriott Hotel. The bomb was felt as far as 15 miles away. Within 500 feet of the blast, buildings and trees were shredded by the bomb, which was believed to be the biggest in Islamabad’s history.

In the minutes after the blast, dozens of dead bodies littered what used to be the lobby of the hotel. Between the entrance and the security checkpoint, about 50 feet away, there were mounds of rubble under which more dead are feared to be buried.
Hours before the attack and less than a mile away from the hotel, Pakistan's new president Asif Ali Zardari made his first address to Parliament. Zardari, as well as Pakistan's Prime Minister, were due to dine at the Marriott the same evening, but changed their plans and avoided the blast.

Just hours after his first address as president of Pakistan, particularly stressing his desire to fight terrorism in his own country, Zardari would have been not only a victim, but a symbolic statement of the resiliance of the Islamists and their desire to use terror to dissolve democracy.

Update: The death toll is now at 53 and rising as dead bodies continue to be pulled from the rubble. Czech Ambassador Ivo Zdarek is among at least 21 foreigners killed in the blast.

Also read Bill Marriott on the bombing: "They [security personnel] had stopped the truck just outside the fortified gate. They were examining it when the bomb detonated. Sadly each member of the team was killed. These guys were defending the lives of hotel guests and their fellow co-workers. They were killed in the line of their duty."

Update: A
surveillance video recorded moments before the bomb exploded has been released:

The camera didn't capture the blast - if you look at the resulting crater you'll understand why - but it caught everything leading up to the explosion, including the driver apparently self-detonating as hotel guards closed in. The flames couldn't be extinguished before they ignited the truck bomb itself.

So, let me get this straight: Zardari and his contemporaries were supposed to be dining at the Marriott at the time of the explosion, but plans were changed at the last minute. It's been long asserted by the CIA (amongst other intelligence entities) that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency has close ties to Al-Qaeda leadership.

Hmmmmm - I wonder who would have intimate access to Pakistani leadership and be interested in sharing that information with jihadis?

Just a reminder - there are nuclear weapons in this country, and with ISI in bed with the radicals as they have been for years, no one in Pakistan can be trusted with nukes.


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