Sat, Mar 04, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Pakistan profiling car bomber

VIDEO FOOTAGE Police are preparing a sketch of the bomber outside the US consulate based on closed-circuit camera images and eyewitness accounts


Police are preparing a sketch of a suicide car bomber who struck outside a US consulate in Pakistan, killing a US diplomat and three other people, a police official said yesterday.

US authorities have named the two consulate staff killed in the explosion in downtown Karachi on Thursday as David Foy, a facilities maintenance officer, and his Pakistani driver Iftikhar Ahmed. Another 52 people were also injured by the blast.

Karachi police chief Niaz Siddiqui said investigators were preparing a sketch of the bomber based on surveillance camera images from the consulate and neighboring Marriott Hotel, as well as eyewitness accounts of survivors.

Another police investigator said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the probe that footage from the closed-circuit cameras revealed the bomber to be a man in his 30s with a trim beard.

The bomber parked a white Toyota Corolla sedan in a street linking the consulate with the hotel which is commonly used as additional hotel parking space, he said.

In the footage, the bomber is seen arguing with a paramilitary soldier seconds before he rammed his car into Foy's sports utility vehicle as it drove by, the official said.

The bomber's car had a falsified chassis number and stolen license plates, the official said.

Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao told Pakistan's Geo television yesterday that the consu-late's security camera revealed the bomber parked his car 20 minutes before he reversed into Foy's SUV.

US President George W. Bush said from neighboring India on Thursday the terrorist attack would not deter him from visiting Pakistan's capital Islamabad, which is about 1,600km north of Karachi, yesterday for a weekend visit.

Siddiqui said security in Karachi had been increased with additional police and paramilitary troops deployed at foreign restaurants and businesses.

All roads leading to the consulate and European consulates have been blocked with shipping containers, he said.

A dozen FBI agents inspected the blast site late on Thursday using flashlights as part of the joint US-Pakistan investigation, police said.

No group claimed responsibility for the bombing, but Karachi is a hotbed of Islamic militancy and past attacks have been blamed on al-Qaeda-linked militants.

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