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November 24, 2007
At Least 35 Dead in Pakistani Suicide Bomb Attack
A bus carrying intelligence personnel from the Interservices Intelligence Agency (ISI) was rammed by an explosive laden car, killing at least 35 people:
The two attackers struck in Rawalpindi, a garrison city just south of the capital, Islamabad. The identity of the attackers is unknown but it has Islamic militiants written all over it. The army has been carrying out an offensive in the Swat Valley against the extremists and it could be that this attack was part of the ongoing war between the military and the radicals. But given the state of emergency declared by President Musharraf 3 weeks ago, the attack may have been carried out by any number of parties.
A senior intelligence official, who asked for anonymity because of the sensitivity of his work, said at least 35 people were killed.
In the first attack, an explosive laden car rammed a bus carrying employees from the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, while the other bomber hit the checkpoint, said Mohammed Afzal, a local police official. An intelligence agent at the scene said the destroyed bus was a 72-seater, but that more people were on board.
The agent, who asked not to be identified, said he believed casualty numbers would keep rising. After the blast, troops and police quickly blocked off the area of the blast. They pushed back bystanders and snatched cameras and mobile phones from journalists and bystanders. Agents fanned out across the area, picking up metal bits of what appeared to be the suicide bomber's car.
This is the second major attack on ISI personnel in the last 3 months. On September 4, an attacker blew himself up after boarding another bus full of ISI personnel while a roadside bomb was detonated minutes later near a military checkpoint. Twenty five people were killed in that coordinated attack.