Thursday, December 27, 2007

Suicide Bombing at Bhutto Rally; Bhutto Critical? (UPDATE) Bhutto Dead

Benazir Bhutto driving through the streets, waving at her supporters, just seconds before she was shot and the suicide bomber hit today
(Via Hot Air)

UPDATE: Benazir Bhutto is dead.
Pakistan former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was targeted in a deadly suicide bombing Thursday. Media reports quote her husband saying she suffered a bullet wound to the neck in the attack.
This is curious that she reportedly died from a bullet wound, likely meaning the suicide bomber may not have caused the wound and she was shot by someone else.

Obviously, more details to follow.

UPDATE II: More from the Washington Post.
Bhutto was shot at close range as she was leaving the rally in this garrison city south of Islamabad, aides said. Immediately after the shooting, a suicide bomber detonated explosives near Bhutto's car, killing at least 15 other people.

Bhutto was rushed to a hospital with extensive wounds to her torso, her supporters said. Shortly after she arrived at the hospital, an official came out of the building and told a crowd of supporters Bhutto was dead.

Also Thursday, a rooftop sniper opened fire on supporters of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif at a different pre-election rally in Rawalpindi, leaving four dead and at least five injured.

Bhutto's death is a devastating development, coming 12 days before Pakistanis are set to vote in national parliamentary elections already marked by enormous political turmoil. President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in November -- a move which he said was to combat terrorism, but which was widely perceived as an effort to stave off legal challenges to his authority. U.S. military officials said last week that the terrorist group al-Qaeda increasingly is focusing its efforts in Pakistan.
UPDATE III: Reaction via Memeorandum. Michelle Malkin, Gateway Pundit, Jules Crittenden, Don Surber, LGF, Noblesse Oblige, Doug Ross, Pajamas Media have more (via Glenn Reynolds).

This could quickly get ugly.
The assassination of Benazir Bhutto threatens to plunge a nuclear armed Pakistan into civil war, opposition groups warned today.

The former prime minister was killed by a suicide bomber as she left a public rally in the city of Rawalpindi today.

Commentators said the killing would make the postponement of the upcoming elections almost certain and could spark further unrest.

Riaz Malik, of the opposition Pakistan Movement for Justice party (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf), warned: "The impact will be that Pakistan is in more turmoil - it will be the start of civil war in Pakistan.

"There is a very real danger of civil war in Pakistan."
UPDATE IV: HuffPost commenters unhinged, wish Bush and Blair who were murdered.
scampy123 (See profile | I'm a fan of scampy123)
If only we could read that Bush and Blair had been blown to bits with this greedy corrupt bitch who was persuaded to return for the American style of imposed democracy.
Why have the war criminals Bush and Blair have not been assasinated?

Reply | posted 09:46 am on 12/27/2007

Bluedanube (See profile | I'm a fan of Bluedanube)
A tragedy for democratic reform in Pakistan. A preview of what opponents to the Republican Party can expect?
Reply | posted 09:40 am on 12/27/2007

UPDATE V: AQ takes responsibility, of course. (HT: Lawhawk).

UPDATE VI: Some reaction from U.S. presidential candidates. More here. Reaction here from Pakistanis in the U.S. President Bush response shown here (scroll down for video). Others weigh in here (via Hot Air).

This is getting to be a recurring theme.
A suicide bomber struck shortly after Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto addressed a political rally in this garrison city on Thursday, killing at least 20 people, witnesses said.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene could see body parts and flesh scattered at the back gate of the Liaqat Bagh park where Bhutto had spoken. He counted about 20 bodies, including police, and could see many other wounded people.

Police official Abdul Karim said Bhutto had already left the area in her vehicle when the blast went off, just minutes after her speech to thousands of supporters.

Another police official, Saud Aziz, said it was a suicide attack.

Farahtullah Babar, spokesman for Bhutto party, said her vehicle was some 50 yards away from blast, just after leaving the rally venue in Rawalpindi.
This report indicates Bhutto is safe, but Fox reported a sources said that she may have been injured.
"She had just crossed the gate when we heard a deafening sound. We could feel its impact but by the grace of God she is safe," he said.
Just yesterday, police had stopped a 15-year-old carrying a bomb at a Bhutto rally.

This attack comes after police had announced tightened security plans in Rawalpindi.
Around 4,000 additional police personnel and commandos have been called for security arrangements after intelligence agencies and the federal government warned of possible terror attacks on Benazir Bhutto.

Extraordinary security arrangements have also been made around the Rawalpindi city, Liaquat Bagh and the Islamabad International Airport. Bunkers and check posts have also been set up at different places in the city and walkthrough gates would be installed at entry points of Liaquat Bagh.

Entry to the public rally premises will only be allowed after complete identification and thorough checking. Police personnel in civvies will also patrol the nearby areas and hotels to guard against any terrorist activity.
It apparently wasn't enough or, perhaps, there was an inside job.

Also Thursday, gunmen opened fire on supporters of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Gunmen opened fire on supporters of former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday from an office of the party that supports President Pervez Musharraf killing four Sharif supporters, police said.

It was the worst violence related to a Jan. 8 general election since campaigning began in earnest in mid-December.

Sharif was several kilometres away from the shooting and was on his way to Rawalpindi city after attending a rally.

Sharif blamed supporters of the pro-Musharraf party for the violence but a spokesman for the party denied that its workers were involved.

The shooting occurred near an office of the pro-Musharraf Pakistan Muslim League (Q).
CNN is reporting Bhutto may be in critical condition.
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is said to be critically wounded following a suicide attack on a political rally in Rawalpindi, her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was quoted as saying on CNN affiliate Geo TV.
BBC also reports Bhutto is wounded.

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