Deadly blast rocks Pakistan hotel

PESHAWAR - Investigators searched a wrecked luxury hotel in northwestern Pakistan for evidence after a bold suicide bombing killed 11 people, including aid workers, in what the UN condemned as a "heinous terrorist attack".

PESHAWAR - Investigators searched a wrecked luxury hotel in northwestern Pakistan for evidence after a bold suicide bombing killed 11 people, including aid workers, in what the UN condemned as a "heinous terrorist attack".

Elsewhere in the volatile region security forces killed 70 suspected militants in an area close to two major Taliban tribal strongholds, intelligence officials said yesterday.

No one claimed responsibility for the late Tuesday bombing of the Peshawar Pearl Continental, but the blast followed Taliban threats to carry out major attacks in large cities to avenge an army offensive against insurgents in the nearby Swat Valley. At least three suicide attackers shot their way past guards and set off the explosion outside the hotel, a favourite spot for foreigners and well-off Pakistanis and a site the US was considering for its consulate.

The attack reduced a section of the hotel to concrete rubble and twisted steel and left a huge crater in a parking lot.

Senior police official Safwat Ghayur said counterterrorism experts, police and intelligence agents were combing the rubble for clues yesterday.

Security camera footage shows the attackers in two vehicles: a white sedan and a truck. The vehicles pull up to a guard post outside the hotel, with the car in front. A puff of smoke appears near the car window. A guard collapses.

The vehicles move into the hotel compound. A flash and eruption of dust follow seconds later. - Sapa-AP

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