December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto Killed in Suicide Bomb Attack (updated, al-Qaeda claims attack)

bhuttoobitsmall.JPGVia CNN:

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in the wake of a suicide bombing that killed at least 14 of her supporters, doctors, a spokesman for her party and other officials said.

Bhutto suffered bullet wounds in the aftermath of the bomb attack, TV networks were reporting.

Police warned citizens to stay home as they expected rioting to break out in city streets as a shocked Pakistan absorbed the news of Bhutto's assassination.

Video of the scene just moments before the explosion showed Bhutto stepping into a heavily-guarded vehicle to leave the rally.

Bhutto was rushed to Rawalpindi General Hospital -- less than two miles from the bombing scene -- where doctors pronounced her dead.

Link to CNN Video

They also tried to kill her yesterday. A Fifteen year old boy was caught with a bomb at a security check.

Update: There's some footage from the bombing in this ABC report I found on Google video.

CBC video of the scene here (real player format).

More video here and here.

Update II: al-Qaeda claims Bhutto's murder.

Via Adnkronos e-news: Karachi, 27 Dec. (AKI) - (by Syed Saleem Shahzad) - A spokesperson for the al-Qaeda terrorist network has claimed responsibility for the death on Thursday of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

“We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahadeen,” Al-Qaeda’s commander and main spokesperson Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid told Adnkronos International (AKI) in a phone call from an unknown location, speaking in faltering English. Al-Yazid is the main al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan.

It is believed that the decision to kill Bhutto, who is the leader of the opposition Pakistan People's Party (PPP), was made by al-Qaeda No. 2, the Egyptian doctor, Ayman al-Zawahiri in October.

Death squads were allegedly constituted for the mission and ultimately one cell comprising a defunct Lashkar-i-Jhangvi’s Punjabi volunteer succeeded in killing Bhutto.

Bush Condemns "Cowardly" Attack on Bhutto

Pakistani Forces on Red Alert

Update III: More on the The death of Benazir Bhutto via Betsy Pisik at The Washington Times. They have a link to the latest known video of Benazir Bhutto. They will be updating the story with the latest news throughout this evening.

Here are some photos of Ms. Bhutto from happier times (via BBC):

Benazir Bhutto was part of a political dynasty. Here she is with India's foreign minister in 1972 in Simla, where her father, President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, met India's Indira Gandhi.

Ms Bhutto was Pakistan's prime minister twice. The first term of office between 1988 and 1990 coincided with the latter years of UK PM Margaret Thatcher's rule.

Update IV: 2 U.S. Lawmakers Advised by State Department to Leave Pakistan, Were to Meet Benazir Bhutto

WASHINGTON — Two U.S. lawmakers scheduled to meet Thursday with former Pakastani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and President Pervez Musharraf were advised to leave the country after Bhutto's assassination.

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said in a telephone interview from his Islamabad hotel room that he and Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., were to dine with Musharraf and meet later in the night with Bhutto.

He said he heard about the attack on Bhutto as he was dressing for the dinner with Musharraf.

"Our foreign policy had relied on her presence as a stabilizing force," Specter said, emotionally describing her death as "a real, real, real shock."

"I knew her personally. ... She was, as you know, glamorous, beautiful smart," he said. "Her loss is a setback. But you have to face what is. And now, without her, we have to regroup."

A couple images from Yahoo slide show here.



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