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Pakistan blast targets foreigners

March 16, 2008|From the Associated Press

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — A bomb exploded Saturday in the back garden of an Italian restaurant crowded with foreigners in Pakistan's capital, killing a Turkish woman and wounding 11 people, including five Americans.

A notice posted in the reception area at Islamabad's Poly Clinic listed five U.S. citizens who were undergoing surgery. A Japanese citizen, a Canadian, a Briton and three Pakistanis also were wounded.

Officials said the bomb was planted in the garden or thrown over a wall at the Luna Caprese restaurant, a popular gathering spot for expatriates in Islamabad.

Pakistani Interior Secretary Kamal Shah confirmed that a Turkish woman had died. The blast reverberated across downtown Islamabad about 8:45 p.m.

"There were U.S. Embassy personnel among the injured. They are receiving medical treatment and their families are being notified," embassy spokeswoman Kay Mayfield said. She was unable to confirm the number of wounded and their nationalities.

The bomb struck two days before Pakistan's new parliament was set to convene Monday. On Tuesday, two suicide bombings killed 24 people and wounded more than 200 in the eastern city of Lahore.

With such attacks on the rise, a growing number of Pakistanis are questioning U.S.-backed President Pervez Musharraf's approach to countering Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Musharraf's opponents say punitive military action has only fueled the violence.

The winning parties in last month's parliamentary elections have pledged to offer a new counter-terrorism strategy when they form a coalition government next week.

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