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Timeline of Suicide Blasts in Islamabad
Deadliest blast was 10th since 1995. President Zardari vows to 'root out cancer'
Muhammad Aslam Khan (aslam)     Email Article  Print Article 
Published 2008-09-21 12:23 (KST)   

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Leaders of Pakistan Were Targets of Blast


Islamabad is the showcase of the Pakistani nation, a well-planned modern city.

It has been the main target of terrorists in the near past. At least 10 suicide bombers have targeted Islamabad since 1995 -- claiming more than 200 lives and injuring scores of others. Last night was the second time the Marriott Hotel was targeted.

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Ten Year Timeline

Nov. 19, 1995

A suicide bomber blasts a truck loaded with ammunition at the main gate of Egyptian embassy, killing 14 people. The embassy building was severely damaged.

May 27, 2005

A decade later, a suicide bomber detonates a bomb in the courtyard of Imam Bari shrine. In this gory incident at least 24 were killed.

Jan. 26, 2007

This was the first time a suicide bomber tried to sneak into the Marriott hotel, using the back entrance. During the brawl, a bomber and a hotel guard were killed and five other hotel employees were injured.

Feb. 6, 2007

One bomber was killed in the parking area of Islamabad International Airport and five security guards were injured.

July 18, 2007

A suicide bomber attacked a rally of lawyers during a procession to city courts where deposed Chief Justice Iftkhar Muhammad was about to deliver a speech. Twenty people were killed, including political workers and lawyers.

July 27, 2007

A gory incident at the Red Mosque was on the minds of citizens of Islamabad, where during the three week long military operation thousands were caught up in fighting between paramilitary Rangers and religious students. On the eve of the re-opening of the Red Mosque there was fierce fighting between these two groups. The brawl led to a suicide attack at nearby AabPara Market that claimed the lives of 22 people, including seven police guards.

March 15, 2008

A suicide bomber attacks an exclusive French restaurant -- Lana Capers -- where two FBI agents were dining. Two persons were killed and 15 others were injured.

June 2, 2008

The Danish embassy was targeted by a powerful car bomb that was rammed into the embassy's main gate. Six people were killed and 25 were injured.

July 6, 2008

In the vicinity of the Red Mosque, another suicide bomber targets a civilian crowd and policemen. Twenty people were killed and the city was put in an emergency lock down with tight security. A convention of religious scholars was going on in the mosque when all this happened.

Sept. 20, 2008

A blast at the Marriott hotel jolts the whole of Pakistan. It was the worst kind of blast, totally devastating the five star hotel. More than 100 people are feared dead and 200 were seriously injured. There was a pit 50 meters in diameter and 100 meters deep.

Dozens of vehicles were completely smashed to pieces and debris litters the area.

At the Site

No one can assess the fatal impact of the blast without visiting the site. I visited the area in the wee hours of Sunday, at about 3 a.m., with some of my colleagues who have vast experience in reporting from conflict zones. Sohail Iqbal, editor of an online news agency, Mushtaq Minhas, anchor of a popular talk show 'Bolta Pakistan' and Aslam Doger -- all agreed that the attack was the deadliest of its kind.

TV images only show a part of the devastation and damage, but the fatal impact can only be judged after a visit to the blast site.

Emergency Address to the Nation

"Terrorism is an epidemic, a cancer, we have to eliminate it at all costs," said President Asif Ali Zardari appeared on the state run TV channel late Saturday night to console the nation after the Marriott hotel attack.

Zardari said that "we are a brave nation and not afraid of the terrorists and their cowardly acts," adding, "We have no fear of death because it is our firm belief that day of judgment is fixed."

He said terrorists will have to bow their heads before the people.

"Pakistan is ours and we will save Pakistan," he added.
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Muhammad Aslam Khan

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