Blast In Pakistan Capital Kills 40

Bombing leaves 33' crater
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2008 12:46 PM CDT
A view of the estimated 33 feet deep crater caused by a bomb explosion at Marriott hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sept 20, 2008.    (AP Photo/B.K.Bangash)
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(Newser) – A suicide bomber drove a truck full of explosives into a Marriott in Islamabad today, completely destroying it, the Washington Post reports. At least 40 are confirmed dead, and 200 injured, but police expect those numbers to rise; unconfirmed reports say more than 1,000 people were in the hotel during the attack. The hotel stood just blocks from major government buildings.

Witnesses say a small car burst through the gates of the heavily-guarded hotel, making way for the explosives-laden truck. The blast set off a natural gas fire on the upper floors, which quickly engulfed the entire structure. Just hours earlier, new president Asif Ali Zardari had pledged to free Pakistan from the “shackles of terrorism” in his first speech before Parliament.