Tue, Jun 03, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Danish embassy bombed in Islamabad

CARTOON, CAR BOMB The Danish staff were unhurt in the blast, which killed at least six and is thought to be linked to the furor over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed

AFP , ISLAMABAD

A Pakistani bomb disposal expert examines a crater caused by a suicide attack in front of the Danish embassy in Islamabad yesterday.

PHOTO: AFP

A suicide bomber blew up a car outside the Danish embassy in the Pakistani capital Islamabad yesterday, killing at least six people and wounding nearly 30 others, state media and officials said.

There was no claim of responsibility for the massive blast, but officials said it was likely linked to the furor over cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, which were printed by Danish newspapers.

The bomb badly damaged the mission and a nearby UN agency and left a huge crater in the road. Dozens of cars were wrecked by the force of the blast, a reporter said.

“It was a suicide attack carried out in a vehicle, apparently targeting the Denmark embassy,” a senior security official said.

Pakistani Interior Secretary Kamal Shah told reporters that a possible link to the row over the cartoons, which were first printed in 2005 and again by Danish papers in February, “will be part of the investigation.”

Government-run television and the state news agency said eight people died. Shah said at least six were killed, including two policemen stationed at the embassy, and 27 wounded.

Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller said the “totally unacceptable” attack was an attempt to ruin Pakistan’s ties with the West. He warned Danes against all travel to Pakistan.

He said that a Pakistani cleaner employed at the embassy died and three other local employees were hurt, but the embassy’s four Danish staffers, including the charge d’affaires, were unharmed.

“I of course condemn this attack. It is terrible that terrorists commit such acts,” Moeller told Danish television. “The aim is simply to ruin Pakistanis’ relations with countries like Denmark.”

Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri have both called for attacks on Danish targets because of the cartoons.

Denmark recently downgraded the embassy and moved out most foreign staff because of threats linked to the furor, diplomatic sources said. In April, Denmark moved embassy staff in Algeria and Afghanistan to secret locations.

The Danish embassy in Islamabad, which is located outside a secure enclave that houses most foreign missions, also shut down briefly in February 2006 because of the cartoon controversy.

Pakistani Taliban movement spokesman Maulvi Omar said he had “no knowledge” of the blast.

“I have no information, I am not in a position to immediately comment. I cannot say who is responsible for this,” Omar said by telephone from an unknown location.

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