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Al Qaeda and Taliban takeout Islamabad Marriott

by Michael webster Investigative reporter Sunday, Sep. 21, 2008 at 10:32 AM 949 494-7121

The Islamabad Marriott was believed a relatively safe haven and a favorite place for locals and foreigners to stay and socialize, despite repeated militant attacks. In January 2007, a security guard blocked a suicide bomber who triggered a blast just outside the Marriott, killing the guard and wounding seven other people.


BY MICHAEL WEBSTER: INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER Sept 19, 2008 at 9:00 AM PDT Up-dated 10:30 AM Same date.



A strong truck bomb has virtually taken out the fortress like and heavily guarded Marriott Hotel in Pakistan's capital Saturday, engulfing the entire building in flames, and killing at least 60 people and wounding perhaps hundreds and both totals is expected to rise significantly according to Pakistani authorities.

Still many people are trapped inside the burning building, police said.

The Islamabad Marriott was believed a relatively safe haven and a favorite place for locals and foreigners to stay and socialize, despite repeated militant attacks. In January 2007, a security guard blocked a suicide bomber who triggered a blast just outside the Marriott, killing the guard and wounding seven other people.


Saturday news reports said after this explosion a security guard at the scene, Mohammad Nasir and several witnesses said a large truck had driven toward the gate before exploding, others said it was parked.

The blast crater some 10 feet deep covering a large area of 30 feet or more was directly in front of the hotel. That would tend to support the truck had been parked in front of the main building, where flames could be seen coming from all the windows in the five story hotel. Rescuers carried injured and bloody bodies from the blast and resulting fire that gutted the building.

The blast left a vast crater in front of the hotel

Locals told investigators the explosion brought down the ceiling in a banquet room where there were about 200 to 300 people at a meal to break the fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

Ahmad Latif, a senior police official, said it was one of the biggest terrorist strikes in Pakistan history.

Ambulances rushed victims to the hospitals and burned out cars could be seen throughout the area. Windows in buildings hundreds of meters away were shattered.

But Pakistan, a so called U.S. ally in the war on terror, has faced waves of militant violence in recent weeks following Pakistan and U.S. armies launched offensives against the heavily armed and entrenched Al Qaeda and Taliban insurgents in its border mountain regions with Afghanistan.

While it is true more information is needed to make a final determination, al-Qaeda and the Taliban are the most likely ones responsible for the Marriott Hotel attack. Additional attacks against diplomatic facilities, hotels and other Western targets are likely as part of an increased targeting effort and operational tempo in Pakistan against Western targets by al-Qaeda and the Taliban. This is consistent with messages pointing to future operations threatened by al-Qaeda against Pakistan and that threat is proving to be real and a greater threat to Pakistan than at any time in their history.


Senior al-Qaeda leader Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, who claimed the recent Danish Embassy bombing in Pakistan, had just threatened additional attacks against Western interests in Pakistan in al-Qaeda's 9-11 anniversary video entitled, "Results of Seven Years of Crusades". He said, "And we tell the jealous people and Mujahideen of Pakistan that in order for the Jihad in Afghanistan to continue and be victorious you must stand with your brothers the Mujahideeen in Afghanistan to fight the puppet regime of Pakistan and its aggressive and tyrannical army and strike the interests of the Crusader allies in Pakistan. How, when you are people of jealousy and courage, can you agree to the passing of the enemies caravans carrying arms, provisions and equipment through your territory, caravans which carry death, destruction and doom for your brothers in Afghanistan?! And how can you agree of the bombing of your brothers' regions of Bajaur and Swat and the eviction and displacement of hundreds of thousands of their inhabitants?"

The attack came just hours after new President Asif Ali Zardari, who faces a tough challenge in reining in a wave of Islamist militant violence, delivered his first address to parliament.


The Bush administration has accused Taliban Islamic militants and Al-Qaeda followers of using the unruly border areas as bases from which to direct a growing deadly insurgency in neighboring Afghanistan.


As reported previously in the Laguna journal Strains have emerged between Islamabad and Washington over strikes by US forces on the Pakistani tribal areas.


In private, US officials say that Pakistani leaders are not doing enough to flush out the militants and help stop the insurgency which has become the administration's main military headache.


But strikes against Pakistani territory, the tally of civilian casualties as well as reports that the US forces even conducted a ground raid into Pakistan on September 3 have fueled anti-American feeling in the country.


Islamabad has already protested the strikes and Pakistani army chief General Ashfaq Kayani has pledged to safeguard the country's "territorial integrity." and that includes safeguarding tribal territories from U.S. attacks.

This all coming from Pakistan, the world's only Islamic nuclear power. Tribal areas along the Afghan border are known strongholds for Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants crossing into Afghanistan and attacking Americans and our allies.

Some of the deadliest terrorist attacks in Pakistan in recent years:

_ Sept. 20, 2008: A truck bomb devastates Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, killing at least 60 people and wounding many.

_ Aug. 21, 2008: Suicide bombers blow themselves up at two gates into mammoth weapons factory in town of Wah, killing at least 67 people and wounding more than 70.

_ Aug. 19, 2008: Bomb explodes outside hospital, killing 23 people and wounding 15 in Dera Ismail Khan, town in Pakistan's volatile northwest.

_ March 11, 2008: Suicide bombs rip through seven-story police headquarters and house in Lahore, killing at least 24 people and wounding more than 200.

_ March 2, 2008: Suicide bomber attacks tribesmen discussing resistance to al-Qaida and Taliban in Darra Adam Khel, killing at least 40.

_ Feb. 29, 2008: Suicide bomber strikes funeral of slain police officer in Mingora town in Swat Valley, killing more than 40 people and injuring at least 60.

_ Oct. 18, 2007: Suicide bombing aimed at former prime minister Benazir Bhutto kills some 150 people in Karachi during celebrations welcoming her home from exile.

_ Sept. 4, 2007: Two bombs hit army bus and commercial district in Rawalpindi, killing at least 24 people.

_ July 19, 2007: Suicide attack on minibus carrying Chinese workers in Hub, near Karachi, kills at least 29 people.

_ July 14, 2007: Suicide bomber attacks military convoy in North Waziristan near Afghan border, killing at least 24 Pakistani soldiers.

_ Nov. 8, 2006: Man wearing explosives attacks troops doing calisthenics, killing at least 42 soldiers at army training center in Dargai, town in North West Frontier Province.

This is all happening in a country that has nuclear booms and an unstable government.

For more terrorist related articles Google or go to:

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