Three Dead in Blast at UN Office in Islamabad

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Agence France-Presse

Three Dead in Blast at UN Office in Islamabad

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ISLAMABAD – Two Pakistani women and
an Iraqi national were killed Monday when a suicide bomber struck
inside a heavily fortified UN office in the heart of the Pakistani
capital Islamabad, police officials said.

The explosion inside
the offices of the World Food Programme (WFP) comes after Taliban
rebels vowed to avenge the death of their leader Baitullah Mehsud,
killed in a US missile strike in August.

At least five people
were also injured in the blast, with scenes of confusion around the
walled compound and office in central Islamabad, where smoke billowed
out and ambulances rushed to the scene.

"It was a suicide
blast," said Bani Amin, deputy inspector general of police operations,
adding that the bomber managed to enter the WFP office and detonate
about eight kilograms (17 pounds) of explosives.

"Three people
were killed, two of them are women and one is a foreigner. All the five
injured are Pakistanis," the police official said.

"We have
recovered legs and the skull of the suicide bomber. We are
investigating how he managed to enter inside the building. There are
scanners, there are cameras and strict security arrangements."

Amin later added that the foreign victim was an Iraqi national.

A
local UN staff member at the scene said he saw one severed leg in the
reception, while an AFP reporter outside the compound said he saw smoke
coming out from behind the compound wall.

Another security
official at the scene who asked not to be named said that up to nine
people had been injured: "Among them four to five are foreigners."

Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's office issued a statement saying he
"strongly condemned" the blast and had ordered an inquiry.

There
was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Taliban militants holed
up in the northwest tribal belt have been blamed for a string of
attacks and suicide blasts that have killed more than 2,100 people in
the last two years.

Three bomb blasts in the past
two-and-a-half weeks in the northwest have killed 28 people, with the
Taliban claiming responsibility for one of the blasts and threatening
to unleash bigger assaults.

There was a lull in attacks after
Baitullah Mehsud's death in an August 5 US drone strike, but analysts
had warned that the new Taliban leadership would likely be keen to show
their strength with fresh, dramatic strikes.

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