Wed, June 10, 2009
World > Asia-Pacific > Pakistan hotel blast

Pakistan luxury hotel blast toll rises to 16

2009-06-10 10:18:35 GMT2009-06-10 18:18:35 (Beijing Time)

Pakistani volunteers search for blast victims in Peshawar on June 10. Pakistani police Wednesday pulled bodies from the charred rubble of a luxury hotel in northwest Peshawar after a suicide car bomb killed 16 people in the city troubled by Taliban violence. (AFP/Tariq Mahmood)

The death toll from a suicide blast at a luxury hotel in Pakistan's northwest Peshawar city has risen to 16, while 57 people were injured, senior police officials said Wednesday.

Early reports suggest at least two men shot their way through a security barrier and rammed a pick-up truck packed with explosives into the five-star Pearl Continental hotel late Tuesday, causing massive devastation.

"Five more dead bodies were recovered from the debris -- one overnight and four in the morning," city police chief Safwat Ghayur told AFP, confirming that the toll now stood at 16 dead.

Abdul Ghafoor Afridi, a senor police official in Peshawar, said that 57 people had been wounded in the blast, but warned of more fatalities.

"The number of casualties could rise as we fear that some people are still trapped under the debris," he said.

"One portion of the hotel was totally destroyed. Three people including a manger of the hotel are missing and we fear they are under the debris."

Two foreign United Nations workers -- Serbian Aleksandar Vorkapic with the refugee agency and Filipina Perseveranda So with the children's agency -- were killed, the UN said, while many foreigners were among the injured.

It is the seventh deadly bombing to hit the troubled city in a month, as fears grow that Taliban militants are exacting revenge for a punishing six-week military offensive against them in three northwest districts.


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