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Bhutto assassinated in Pakistan

Benazir Bhutto killed in suicide attack; supporters in uproar across Pakistan

The Canadian Press

December 27, 2007

Pakistan’s opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide attack that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally, aides said.

Bhutto’s supporters erupted in anger and grief after her death, attacking police and burning tires and election campaign posters in several cities across Pakistan.

The attacker struck just minutes after Bhutto addressed thousands of supporters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, about 18 kilometres south of Islamabad, the capital. She was shot in the neck and chest by the attacker, who then blew himself up, said Rehman Malik, Bhutto’s security adviser.

Sardar Qamar Hayyat, a leader from Bhutto’s party, said he was standing about 10 metres away from Bhutto’s vehicle.

“She was inside the vehicle and was coming out from the gate after addressing the rally when some of the youths started chanting slogans in her favour,” he said. “Then I saw a thin, young man jumping to her vehicle from the back and opening fire. Moments later, I saw her speeding vehicle going away.”

Party supporter Chaudry Mohammed Nazir said that two gunshots rang out when Bhutto’s vehicle pulled into the main street and then there was a big blast next to her car.

But Javed Iqbal Cheema, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, told state-run Pakistan Television that Bhutto died when a suicide bomber struck her vehicle.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf blamed terrorists for Bhutto’s death and urged the nation to remain calm.

“I want to express my resolve and seek the co-operation from the entire nation and we will not rest until we eliminate these terrorists and root them out,” Musharraf said in a nationally televised speech.

He announced three days of mourning and convened a high-level emergency meeting to discuss the government’s response.

In Crawford, Texas, U.S. President George W. Bush said: “The United States strongly condemns this cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan’s democracy. Those who committed this crime must be brought to justice.”

No one claimed responsibility for the killing.

Bhutto’s supporters blamed the president, but suspicion was likely to fall on Islamic militants linked to al-Qaida and the Taliban, who hated Bhutto for her close ties to the Americans and support for the war on terrorism. A local Taliban leader reportedly threatened to greet Bhutto’s return to the country from exile in October with suicide bombings.

At least 20 others were killed in Thursday’s blast, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene.

Bhutto was rushed to the hospital and taken into emergency surgery.

“At 6:16 p.m. she expired,” said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Bhutto’s party who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital.

The death of the charismatic former prime minister threw the campaign for the Jan. 8 election into chaos and created fears of mass protests and an eruption of violence across the volatile South Asian nation.

Musharraf was expected to discuss with his senior staff whether to postpone the election, an official at the Interior Ministry said.

‘Surge’ Of US Special Forces Expected In Pakistan In Early 2008
http://yournewreality.blogspot.com/20…-us-special-forces-expected-in.html

Police Officials: Bhutto shot in the neck and chest at rally
http://news.google.com/news/url?s….jeOYqxqVN8UEw

Former premier Benazir Bhutto assassinated in Pakistan
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071227/wl_afp/pakistanvotebhutto

Suspects in the Bhutto assassination
http://www.guardian.co.uk/pakistan/Story/0,,2232496,00.html

Benazir Bhutto assassination: the blog reaction
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3099884.ece

U.S. Troops to Head to Pakistan
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/earlywarning/200….nav=rss_blog

 


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