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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

At least two hurt in airport suicide blast

A suicide attacker detonated a bomb in a car park at Islamabad’s international airport today, wounding at least two police officers and killing himself, officials said.

A security official stopped the bomber, who was on foot, said Mohammed Farooq, a police official at the central control room in Rawalpindi where the airport is located.

After a brief exchange of fire, the attacker detonated the bomb, he said.

Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao confirmed it was a suicide bombing. Farooq said two police officers were wounded, one seriously.

Another police official, Mohammed Afzal, said the blast damaged several cars and hurt several people. Police cordoned off the area, and the wounded people were being taken to hospital, he said.

Mohammed Sarib, who was at the airport to collect someone arriving on a flight, said he saw a man exchanging fire with security officials.

“That man later blew himself up,” he told reporters.

A security official said airport security officials arrested a man who was trying to flee the scene. It was unclear whether the arrested man was a suspected accomplice of the suicide attacker.

The bombing follows a series of suicide attacks targeting security forces in north-western Pakistan, where pro-Taliban militants are active, and a blast last month at Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel that killed one security guard and wounded seven others.

Authorities have yet to identify the Marriott Hotel attacker, but suspect the bombings could be in retaliation to a recent Pakistani army airstrike on an suspected al Qaida hideout near the Afghan border.

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