A five-star Marriott Hotel in Islamabad was attacked by a large truck bomb Saturday evening, killing at least 40 people. The hotel is located a short distance from the residence of the prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was hosting many government leaders for dinner. Authorities said that 100 people are wounded and they expect the death toll to rise.
Carlotta Gall of The New York Times reports from the scene in Pakistan:
Witnesses said they dragged out dozens of bodies from the lobby of the hotel and an adjacent parking lot, including those of a number of foreigners.
One wounded American who works at the embassy here in the capital said he had just opened his car door in the parking lot when the explosion erupted. The American, who gave only his first name, Chris, said he had received injuries to his face, neck and shoulder, and was holding a bloody T-shirt to his face.
He said American Embassy personnel were at the scene, trying to help American citizens they said were trapped in the hotel.
Amjad Ali Khan, a guard on duty at a side entrance to the hotel, said he saw four to five bodies in the hotel parking lot and that he helped carry out 40 bodies from inside the hotel. He said they were “in the lobby and in the restaurant and everywhere.”
“There were very few people injured,” he said. “They were all dead.” He said he saw three Western women who had died from head wounds.
“They are terrorists,” he said when asked who he thought was responsible for the blast. “They threatened a few days ago. We heard there were four to five suicide bombers on the loose.”